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Richard W. Ballenger

December 24, 1946 – September 22, 2021


Dr. Richard Wade Ballenger, 74, passed away on September 22, 2021, in Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital. Richard was born December 24, 1946, in Wills Point, Texas, to R. S. (Sam) and Lola Belle Ballenger of Nacogdoches, Texas.


Upon his graduation from Nacogdoches High School in 1964, Richard earned a B.B.A. degree (1968) and a M.Ed. (1972) from Stephen F. Austin University. In 1985 he earned his doctorate degree in Education (D.Ed.) from Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas.


As a lifelong professional educator, Dr. Ballenger served the State of Texas as a teacher, school counselor, and administrator over the course of his 54 year career: Tatum I.S.D., Nacogdoches I.S.D., Floresville I.S.D., and Gary I.S.D. He also served as an adjunct faculty member of Concordia University, Stephen F. Austin University, Texas A&M University, (graduate level) Kingsville, Our Lady of the Lake University (graduate level) San Antonio, and University of Texas (graduate level) San Angelo.


For more than twenty years, “Dr. B.” sponsored the Nacogdoches High School Key Club, a youth service organization for the community, wherein he mentored young men toward adulthood focusing on gentlemanly conduct and community service. In this pursuit, Dr. Ballenger served approximately ten years as the Texas-Oklahoma District Key Club Administrator for Kiwanis International.


Dr. Ballenger was a founding committee member (1980) of the Nacogdoches Heritage Festival and served as a participating member until 1992.


At the time of his passing, Richard had actively participated on the Nacogdoches County Humane Society board for several years. He had three French bulldogs and two small rescue dogs who gave him joy, along with numerous backyard cats he took pleasure in feeding.


In 2017, Dr. Ballenger was awarded the “Community Builders Award” by the Masonic Lodge of Gary, Texas, during his tenure in Gary I.S.D.


Richard Wade Ballenger and Elizabeth Lincoln Jefferies were married June 9, 1986, and she survives him. Dr. Ballenger is also survived by two daughters: Jean Elizabeth (Beth) Barrios Smith and spouse Hal Clay Smith (Hal), and their three children: Samuel Clay (Sam) Smith, 17, Anna Elizabeth (Anna) Smith, 15, and Jeannie Ruth (Jeannie), 10 of Montgomery, Texas. His younger daughter is Mary Katherine (Katie) Ballenger Broyles and husband Matthew Aaron (Matthew) Broyles of Abilene, Texas.


Other survivors include: Sister Sara Eaves and spouse Renny Eaves of Tenaha, Texas; niece Elizabeth Eaves Maloy and spouse Austin Maloy, and their daughter Ava and son Cruz of Carthage, Texas; two nieces: Angela Scritchfield and Kim Hendrix of Carthage, Texas, daughters of Diane Scritchfield, deceased sister of Dr. Ballenger; three sisters in law: Jean Anne Muckleroy and spouse Roland of Nacogdoches, Texas, and their two sons Theodore Eugene (Ted) Muckleroy and spouse Sandra Diane (Sandy) of Austin, Texas, and Roland Jefferies (Jeff) Muckleroy of Houston, Texas; Marilyn Haberstick and spouse Michael of Smithfield, Utah, and her three sons: Worth Whited (Worth) Barham, Jr., of Aberdeen, South Dakota, Jonathan Jefferies (Jon) Barham and spouse Iris (Ris) of Frisco, Texas, and John Francis (John) Meehan, III, of Fort Worth, Texas; and Katherine Jefferies Dhawan of Benicia, California.


A private family graveside service and interment will be held at Bethel Cemetery in Appleby, Texas.


A memorial Celebration of Life for Dr. Ballenger is being planned for the spring of 2022.


In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts or donations may be made to: Nacogdoches High School (N.I.S.D.) Alumni Association; Richard Ballenger Scholarship Fund at Gary I.S.D.; Nacogdoches County Humane Society; or Bethel Cemetery, Appleby, Texas.