Sue McKenzie was born to Marvin Odell and Willie Faye (Bruner) McKenzie on March 9, 1946 in Canton, Texas. She moved to Kaufman as a child and was raised in Kaufman where she attended Kaufman schools and graduated with KHS Class of 1964. Sue married Stan Ballard Jr. on Aug 14, 1971 and they have two sons, Matthew West Ballard and Dock McKenzie Ballard. Sue is a member of Poetry Baptist Church where her love for children and how each had a special way of learning led her to teach Sunday School classes for many years. She also taught Kindergarten and first grade at Terrell Christian Academy and had so many students who benefitted from her amazing ability to make any subject fun and interesting. Sue also worked at Anderson-Clayton Bros. Funeral Home, Foley’s and Poetry Water Supply. She is preceded in death by her parents, Odell and Willie Fay McKenzie, infant son, Timothy Scott, Sister, Nelda Dodson and brothers-in-law: Ronnye Johnson and Alton Dodson.
Sue was a people person and people, and their life stories and histories, fascinated her. Her love of children and how they viewed the world around them was a constant reminder that all children grew up to be people who could be loved and appreciated. Many of her family can attest to how Sue could be standing in line at the grocery store, clothing shop or post office line and strike up a conversation with people that she had never met but, suddenly, became instant friends. She truly enjoyed hearing others share about themselves and could spend hours getting to know a person that she had just met. These characteristics were just small parts of Sue in that her heart was always full of ideas, ways and activities that she could do and give to show the ones she loved how much she cared. She had a wonderful group of friends that she had made in high school and their frequent get-togethers and “sleep overs” (even into their 50s and 60s!) gave credence to the advice she gave her family: never take a day, or a relationship, for granted. So very much can be said of the close bonds that she shared with this special group of ladies-they each served as a wonderful, vital support network to each other during their lives and the bonds they shared exemplified true friendship. Sue treasured each and every memory that she could make with family and friends and her ability to turn any gathering into a tradition was legendary. Sue was also the epitome of Southern Hospitality-she decorated at each and every holiday, cooked fantastic dishes and made sure that everyone’s favorite was on the table. Visiting Sue was a treat in that her home was immediately opened and your time and conversation was the most special part of her day. Her backyard was carefully cultivated to be an oasis of naturally inspired calmness where her beautiful flowers that she lovingly grew, such as geraniums, hydrangea and yearly exhibitions of beautiful phlox, came together to create a feeling of rest and relaxation for family and friends. Sue also treasured outings and her favorite destinations were luncheons with friends, trips to the Dallas Arboretum with her grandchildren, traveling to many different states to see out-of-town family and friends and, of course, shopping. Sue’s appreciation for shopping was well known and buying for those that she loved made her heart full every time. Time took on a bit more importance as she began to be the caretaker, along with family, of her mother, Faye. Never daunted by the responsibility to family, Sue made sure that Faye was surrounded by familiar things and family until she passed away last July. As Sue’s own illness progressed, Sue began to spend more time at home however, she viewed this as an opportunity to spend more time with family and friends, talking about memories made and cherished traditions that will continue. Many of these conversations held while her youngest grandson, Grant, right next to her at all times, playing with Legos, cars, or blocks bought by Granny Sue- the very same Legos, cars and blocks played with by all the other children that had visited her wonderful, magical, filled with love home.She leaves to cherish her memory her husband, Stan Ballard; her precious sons: West Ballard and wife, Amanda, Dock Ballard and wife, Veronica; the lights of her life, her grandchildren: Aiden, Adison, Alexandria, Grant and Mitchell; brother, Douglas McKenzie; sisters: Vicki Johnson and Sherry Roberts; nieces: Debbie Dearick and Robert, Lisa Weeks and Mike, Shawna Holguin and Rob, Shelley Hitt and Johnny, Mistie McNew and Charles, Dawnya House and Jason, Angela Richey and Rowdy, Liz Spurgeon and Joe David; nephews: Douglas McKenzie, Jr., Sam Johnson and Patsy as well as numerous great-neices and -nephews whom she stayed close with; sister-in-law, Bettye Ballard; aunt, Elizabeth Mirick and many Ballard cousins as well.
Sue is a two time survivor of cancer. We say two times because she fought, and beat, cancer in the 80s and she fought cancer this time with her winning her place in Heaven. In all her life, Sue served. She served as a teacher, a confidante, a planner, an organizer, an inviter, among so many other things. She would have been the first person to downplay any of her life’s accomplishments as well as her virtues and the information that she provided to us for her obituary was encompassed in 9 short, succinct lines. Understandably, we didn’t adhere to her instructions of ‘keeping it simple’ because she deserves so much more of the recognition that she never sought. Sue was a prayer warrior, steadfast servant of God, and a very faithful friend to so many. However, most notably and the person she took the most pride in being, Sue was THE most loving mother and grandmother. The lessons that she taught to West and Dock, the love that she personified and exhibited in any situation that she taught to her grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and -nephews IS the legacy that will be adhered to. She set an example that not only gave a great feeling of love, it gave the example that emboldened all of us to love that way also. With this, we CAN honor her and we WILL honor her until we are all reunited once again at her beautifully decorated table full of wonderful home made dishes made just for each of us….with a great big vase of purple phlox as the centerpiece!
She is loved, she is cherished, she is, and will always be, the best wife, mom, Granny Sue, Susie and friend and we will miss her greatly.