We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Hamilton
Barbara Benna Ballard born June 19, 1943, known to all as “Barb.” Born to David E. Benna Jr. and Nancy (Payne) Benna. She was later lovingly adopted by David G. and Blonzetta (Smith) Benna. She joined Trinity Missionary Baptist Church as a young child, baptized under the pastorate of the late Reverend W. Martin Harris and was a standing member until her passing. She graduated from Withrow High School in 1961 and upon graduation began working at Cincinnati Bell Telephone. Subsequently, she began working for The U.S. Playing Card Company and ultimately, landed her dream job with American Airlines in downtown Cincinnati where she worked for several decades until retirement.
Barb set up roots in Madisonville where she was born and raised. She met and married Robert Willis and to this union Robin (Willis) Shabazz was born. Later she married the love of her life, Alonzo (“Lonnie”) Edward Ballard in 1973 and to this union was born their second daughter Alona Elisha Ballard. Barb was proud of her two daughters and raised them with the discipline of a “tiger mom,” and kept a constant eye on their life experiences like a true “helicopter” mom. In 1996 her only grandson was born to their oldest daughter Robin, Donovan Drake Wilson who was the “apple of her eye.” Donovan and his “Grammers” shared a special bond as he was the son she never had.
She loved baseball, golf, fishing and camping at Eagle Valley Campground, and she especially loved spending time with her close-knit family and good friends. She looked forward to her lunches with the American Airlines retirees and enjoyed a good round of Texas Hold’em with her “Camp friends.” Those who have life-long memories will easily recall the Ballard’s infamous Christmas Eve parties, which became an annual event loved by family, friends and neighbors. She was as loyal as she was tough!
Barb was lovingly known as the “Da Matriarch” of the family and looked forward to hosting family gatherings at their home. She relished this title and wore her crown proudly!
Barb is survived by her loving and devoted husband Alonzo, daughters Robin Shabazz (Donald Jr.) and Alona Ballard, grandson Donovan Wilson and host of nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends and her “fur baby” Torrie.