Jan Ballard passed away October 10, 2016 at the age of 83. A celebration will be held in her honor on Friday, October 14, 2016 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM with a remembrance service at 7:00 PM at Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation in Jordan. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM with visitation one-hour prior at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Jordan. Father Timothy Yanta will preside and Jan’s grandchildren will act as pallbearers. Jan will be laid to rest at Spirit Hill Cemetery in Jordan.
On March 26, 1933 Earl and Kathryn McWilliams welcomed Janis Kathryn McWilliams into the world. She was their only daughter, and four years later, Jan became a big sister to Denny. Jan loved growing up in Cleveland. She had fond memories of ice skating with her friends and performing in a brother-sister act with Denny. They even got to perform on stage with Bob Hope.
When Jan was a teenager, her family moved back to Minneapolis and settled near the Minnehaha Falls. She got a job at Fanny Farmer where she discovered her love for chocolate-covered cherries. Jan was also part of a 16-girl dance line and a cheerleader for Roosevelt High School. She’d still perform the Roosevelt Rouser for her family even into her 80’s.
As a young woman Jan met the love of her life, Dick Ballard. Jan and Dick hit it off immediately and quickly learned that they were soulmates. They exchanged wedding vows at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Paul on May 16, 1953. They started a family in South Minneapolis and then moved to Jordan a few years later where they raised their children, Mark, John, Colleen and Craig.
They quickly made many wonderful friends and were active in the community. Jan and Dick owned the funeral home and furniture shop in town. The Ballard house was always busy with four kids, horses, ponies, fish, raccoons, dogs and even a pet monkey running around. Jan was at the center of all the action, and she loved it. Jan also loved to entertain, and she was definitely the Hostess with the Mostess. She could whip together a party in no time and made it look easy. And she always had room for everyone, because in her mind, it truly was The More The Merrier.
This became even more true in Jan and Dick’s life when their dear friends Frank and Dorothy Betchwars died suddenly in a car accident. Without hesitation, Jan and Dick took in Tom, Pete, Mary and Mike. Overnight the Ballards and Betchwars became a family. Jan was so proud of all her kids. She saw each of them through rose-colored glasses, and in her eyes they could do no wrong.
As a family, they took many memorable trips together. Some of the favorites were to Mexico, Hawaii and Sarasota. They also threw lots of great parties over the years. As the family continued to grow with in-laws and grandkids, Jan made sure that there was always room for everyone. Some of the best times the Ballard-Betchwars crew spent together was sitting around the infamous Round Table eating, drinking and telling stories.
In retirement, Jan and Dick moved to their cabin on Prior Lake to pursue Jan’s passion for hospitality. They owned McWillie’s Bar on Prior Lake for 10 years. Jan loved the hustle and bustle of the bar. She made many wonderful friends there and had a great time along the way.
Throughout her life, Jan was a member of card clubs, the Jordan Community Theatre, Fogey Follies, St. John’s Choir, VFW Women’s Auxiliary, Widow and Widowers Group, and the Ret Hatters. No matter what she was doing, Jan was always quick with a smile and up for an adventure.
Jan was fun-loving, kind, generous and the ultimate entertainer. She will be remembered always by her children, Mark (Lori) Ballard, Colleen (Karl) Holm, Craig Ballard, Tom (Roxy) Betchwars, Mary (Charlie) Sunder, Mike (Julie) Betchwars; daughters in law, Cathy Ballard and Sandy Betchwars; grandchildren, Katie, Lindsey, Giana, Scott, Mitchell, Jamie, John, Eric (Ginger), Frank, Luke, Tony, Jacob, Jennie (Craig) and Sarah; great-grandchildren, Parks, Grant, Amber, Darian, Bernice and Christian; sister-in-law, Beverly Rudiger; other loving relatives and many dear friends.
Jan is preceded in death by her husband, Dick Ballard; sons, John Ballard and Pete Betchwars; parents, Earl and Kathryn McWilliams; brother, Denny McWilliams; great-granddaughter, Lily.
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