Wanda Ballard Farmer, formerly of Norwood and New London, North Carolina (NC), passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her entire family on October 5, 2021, in Charlotte, NC.
Wanda was born to the late Garland Ray Ballard and the late Pauline Dorsey Ballard on November 15th, 1942, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was also preceded in death by her younger brother, Garland Manuel Ballard.
Wanda spent her youth on a farm in Jones County outside of New Bern, NC. While her father was away during World War II, she enjoyed the love and attention of both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This unconditional family love was a major influence on her life and character. She attended the public schools in Jones County, graduating from Jones Central High School followed by attending and graduating from Pfeiffer College in Misenheimer, NC with a degree in Christian Education. At Pfeiffer, she met Lee Benton Farmer II from Norwood and they were married on July 16th, 1966, in Rhems, NC. They dedicated their lives to each other and their family throughout their 55 years of marriage.
During her professional career, she worked for the Methodist Children’s Home in Raleigh, the NC Department of Social Services, taught vocational education at North Stanly High School, and then worked in development for Pfeiffer College, also serving as Director of Alumni Affairs. Her deep Christian faith led to her involvement in many church and community activities, no matter where they lived.
Wanda had numerous interests and talents. She created many beautiful homes for her family and she was an amazing cook. She knew so much about gardening and loved her roses. She could identify any bird by sight or sound and had a deep appreciation for NC wildlife. She was the true matriarch of the family, taking care of her parents as well as Lee’s parents during their most senior years and at the end of their lives. She was the initiator and organizer of all activities that brought her family together celebrating anniversaries, awards, birthdays, graduations, holidays, etc.
Her relationships with her two children, Eric and Beth, were especially close and always supportive. She knew how to listen and provide meaningful advice that still resonates today. She always lived her life as an example to her children and greater family. She had a most special relationship with her six grandchildren: Sarah Carter, Mary Banks, and Ben (Lee Benton III) Farmer and Benton, Ava, and Cannon Blair. They affectionally called her “Gams.” She spent countless hours with each child teaching them about many things and loved them each unconditionally, so much so that each one was convinced that they were her favorite.
She is survived by her husband, Lee Benton Farmer II; her sister Gloria Ballard Caton of Seattle and her four children; her sister-in-laws, Nancy Jane Farmer of Chapel Hill, Diane Derda Ballard of New Bern; her son, Eric Benton Farmer, wife Betsy, and their three children of Charlotte; her daughter and dedicated caregiver, Beth Farmer Blair, husband Todd, and their three children of Hickory; as well as many other close loving family members. A special thank you to family: Gloria Caton, Susan Caton Kaminski of Seattle, Steven Caton of Berlin, Germany, Belinda Landis and Gina Judkins of Rocky Mount and Nancy Farmer.
Wanda Ballard Farmer was a remarkable daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She was an extraordinary individual in so many regards. We know this week God welcomed a new angel to heaven. We will miss her love, wisdom, and teachings all our lives, but her spirit and influence will always be with us.
A memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Norwood, NC, Saturday, October 9th at 2:00 pm with a visitation to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 208 Pee Dee Avenue, Norwood, NC 28128.
Hartsell Funeral Home is serving the Farmer family
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