Mary Helen Ballinger


(May 17, 2003)

Mary Helen Ballinger of Cody, beloved mother, grandmother and friend, died Saturday, May 17 at West Park Hospital in Cody from complications of pneumonia and a broken hip.

She was born May 1, 1916, in Schuyler, Nebr., one of nine children of William and Jessie Pirrie, and came to Cody with her family in 1929.

On April 23, 1935, she married Carl Marion Ballinger. He died June 29, 1979, after 44 years of marriage.

Her family was her pride and joy. Her son, Merlyn Ballinger and wife Virginia of Powell; daughter Elise Ballinger York and husband Joe of Meeteetse; and daughter Janet Ballinger Dutton and husband Roger of Cody will all sorely miss her, as will her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The family will remember her as a respected farm and ranch woman on both the Southfork and Northfork at Wapiti. She was a long-standing member of the Cody Methodist Church where she served for many years. She was also renowned for her hospitality and her cooking.

The family is comforted that she was loved by many and that she inspired those who experienced her courageous spirit, love of God, positive attitude, great sense of humor and strength of character. She was well known for her rendition of "Everything is Beautiful," and that is what she truly believed of the world and people around her.

She will be held closely in the hearts of many as a truly beautiful person. "May we all aspire to her kindness, faith and courage."

In addition to her children, her survivors include grandchildren Twila York of Helena, Mont.; Susie Dutton Wantulok (John) of Boise, Idaho; Cathy York Jordan (Gary) of Portland, Ore.; Terri Ballinger May of Tacoma, Wash.; Brenda Ballinger Whitlock of Tacoma, Wash.; and Joel Adams (Margie) of Red Lodge, Mont.; and great-grandchildren Brandt and Taylor May; Justin and Spencer Whitlock; Carly, Kellen, Erin and Kobi Wantulok; Jody Inbody; Graham, Elizabeth and Connor Sims; and Neil Adams.

She is also survived by sister Dorothy (Dot) Bales of Cody; sister-in-laws Bessie Pirrie of Cody, Ruthie Pirrie of Las Vegas, Nev., and Phyllis Lundvall (Lawrence) of Leesburg, Fla.; brother-in-law Charles Meier of Cody; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Morris, Lester, Melvin, Keith, William (Bud) and Duane; and a sister, Marjorie Meier.

A Celebration of Mary's Life will be held July 5 at the Methodist Church, with time to be announced later.