Cover photo for Rev. Dr. Barry R. Ballard's Obituary
Rev. Dr. Barry R. Ballard Profile Photo

Rev. Dr. Barry R. Ballard

September 25, 1964 — December 1, 2022

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Those we hold most dear never truly leave us... they live on in the kindnesses they showed, the comfort they shared and the love they brought into our lives.

Barry Ballard loved Jesus and people and lived his life anchored in those two loves.

Growing up in Charlotte, NC he learned those loves from his parents, Dick and Sylvia Ballard, who made sure that he was nurtured by his family and church community. He spent his High School years at Charlotte Christian School and still maintains friendships from that era of his life. He graduated from Pfeiffer College and also has ongoing friendships from that season.

Barry entered seminary in South Hamilton, MA at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He and his wife Karen met at the student welcome feast where she served him hot dogs. (Note that lobster was also an option but Barry didn’t do seafood!) While at GCTS Barry and Karen became friends and did many things together, but never dated. It wasn’t until Karen’s final year that she realized that she loved Barry Ballard. He felt the same about her, but . . . it was complicated! So after Barry graduated he moved to Paynesville, MN where he served a UMC as youth pastor. It was during a youth retreat that Karen invited him to come to Ohio to be the guest speaker at, that they both knew, at the same time, that they needed to be together. They were married on October 11, 1992 at First Presbyterian Church in Fremont, Ohio. They celebrated 30 years of marriage this year.

It was while they were in Ohio that Barry and Karen welcomed their daughter, Kirstyn into their world. Barry was serving at various churches and completed the process of being ordained in the same denomination as Karen, the PCUSA. When Kirstyn was one, it seemed God was calling for a move and that Barry should take a call as pastor. That event began with a phone call from Reva Caswell from the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church. Barry and family followed God to Wyalusing 26 years ago and have loved living life here. Wesley was born to the family in 1998 to much joy and excitement.

When the kids became of school age, Barry followed, volunteering in the Kindergarten classroom and the funny thing is that even though both of his kids long since graduated from Wyalusing, you could still find Barry in the First Grade! He went in almost every morning to help children read and he loved doing that and the kids loved him (I think the teachers were happy to have him around too!) Part of the elementary school days included Barry coaching girls softball with his friend, Jef LaFrance, and he was ready to help out in any other capacity. When Kirstyn and Wesley were in band, you could find him on many Friday nights working the concession stand at the football games or in the stands at away games.

In our house, Barry was nicknamed “The Community Chaplain” as it seemed he was often called upon to serve others in their grief if the family had no church home. He was called because of that ongoing, genuine love for people and because the Funeral Home Directors knew and entrusted families into his care. He was grateful for the years working with McHenry’s, Homers, and Sheldon’s here in town. He truly cared about each family he had the chance to serve.

He loved being “in” town and with people. Hours spent at Brewed Awakening in conversation with either the people who worked there or customers or fellow clergy who would meet there. Then it was time spent at the American Sandwich Company.

He loved the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church and her people. He was so grateful to be able to minister alongside all of the people there and valued each elder, deacon, Sunday school teacher, adult and especially child. Barry, like his father (and son!) was a child magnet!! I can’t tell you how many times I stood by as he was accosted by children!! It was wonderful! He also loved being able to lead worship with his guitar and teach new songs to the congregation.

He was grateful for his colleagues in town who were many over the 26 years he served here! He was also appreciative of his colleagues in the Lackawanna Presbytery. He served on the Committee on Ministry, moderated the Sessions of several area churches over the years, and best of all was able to spend many a summer week at Camp Lackawanna and wrote many weeks of curriculum for the camp. This was not his first camp experience. He worked at Camp Lurecrest in NC for several summers as well on the maintenance crew.

Barry developed a love for hiking and rock climbing during his first summer of seminary where he took a course nicknamed “Camping for Credit” but which turned into a summer job taking groups into the NH wilderness. He passed this love of outdoor interaction on to his wife and children. We loved our camping adventures! Barry was an excellent artist and favored painting. His current passion was ballroom dancing with his good friend Melissa Pickering as his dance teacher. He would dance even when Karen couldn’t, so that he could be a better leader when they were on the floor together.

On January 28th, Barry was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. The doctor told him that the only chance for survival was a double lung transplant. So began a journey in which the entire community, named throughout, has been involved. Prayers began immediately for healing. On September 13 he was listed for transplant and we praised God and prayers shifted, knowing that lungs could become available immediately or in a year. His decline was rapid, and on September 21st we were told to go to the Robert Packer Hospital and await transfer down to UPenn where his transplant team could keep him under watchful eye and plan his care. He enjoyed his helicopter ride down on a beautiful autumn day! It became clear during that time that he would not be returning home as his need for oxygen was too great. On the night of the 22nd he got the call that lungs were available. At 5:00 a.m. on 9/23 he was taken into surgery and the transplant successfully completed. He was an exceptional patient taken care of by an exceptional team of doctors, nurses and caregivers.

He was released from the UPenn on October 7th and we took up residence at The Gift of Life House in Philadelphia. We were residents there until he was released to come home for Thanksgiving. It was our best family Thanksgiving ever. Karen and Barry went back to Philly on 11/29 to be ready for a check-up the next day. It was a very encouraging visit on the morning of the 30th and the team was happy with Barry’s progress. We went back to our room and ordered lunch and Barry went out to get it. When it took too long for him to return Barry rushed out to track him down and found him already in the ambulance and about on his way to the hospital. But a cardiac arrest takes you quickly. The care at the hospital was amazingly filled with kind doctors and nurses who did what they could to save Barry, but he was gone. He is where he longed to be for the past several months and had looked forward to the promise of life in the presence of God his entire life. So be at peace. All is well.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey these last few months. Barry was so humbled by and grateful for the outpouring of love that came financially and through cards and notes of encouragement. He was daily overwhelmed by your kindness and thoughtfulness. Community was lived out in this situation and his family remains in awe of what they have witnessed.

Barry is survived by:

His wife Karen who enjoyed every moment of adventurous life with him.

His daughter Kirstyn whom he loved to watch perform and was so entertained by her stories of life.

His son Wesley whom he also loved hearing perform and having long conversations and road trips with.

His mother Sylvia Ballard who will miss him deeply.

And a community that will best honor him by following his example of loving Jesus and loving people.

We are so grateful for Jody Cooley at the Sutfin Funeral Chapel in Nichols, NY for taking such good care of us and for the cooperation of Sheldon’s Funeral Home and the Homer Funeral Home as well.

A period of visitation and time of sharing the special gift Barry was to all of us will be held on Friday, December 9th from 2 – 6 pm at Sheldon Funeral Home, 155 Church Street, Wyalusing, Pa. A period of visitation will also be held on Saturday, December 10th from 10 -12 pm at the funeral home. A celebration of Barry’s life will follow at the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church at noon. A luncheon and reception will follow at the church. Barry will be laid to rest on Monday, December 12th at a private graveside service in the Wyalusing Cemetery. Memories and condolences may be shared by visiting;;

In his true gift of giving, Barry had shared the gift of sight in the hopes to further research and the family requests that memorial contributions be directed to the Gift of Life Donor program, We encourage everyone to consider becoming a donor.

Memorial contributions may also be directed to the Wyalusing Presbyterian Church, 179 Church Street, Wyalusing, PA 18853 in loving memory of Rev. Dr. Barry R. Ballard.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, December 10, 2022

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration Of Life

Saturday, December 10, 2022

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Wyalusing Presbyterian Church

102 Church Street
Wyalusing, PA 18853

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