Fran Ballard, 61, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning Feb. 7, 2021, with her sister Tracy at her side. Fran was born on Aug. 19, 1959 in Cedar City, Utah to Tim Ballard and Monta Bradshaw Ballard.
Fran was raised and educated in Rockville and Hurricane and graduated from Hurricane High School in 1977 where she played basketball and was on the all-state basketball team. She was also a member of the band, participated in Tigerettes and was an avid runner.
At the age of 19, Fran was severely injured and paralyzed in a car accident and afterward required the use of a wheelchair. She underwent four major back surgeries and endured intense nerve pain and other health issues. Showing her characteristic grit and determination, she did not allow the disability to affect her independence and maintained a full and vibrant life. She attended college in Cedar City and moved to Las Vegas in 1982.
While Fran had many opportunities to marry and have a family of her own, she instead chose to devote her life to befriending and helping others which she did with joy and enthusiasm. While living in Las Vegas, she became an active community organizer and was instrumental in assisting numerous elderly and disabled residents who became like family. She was instinctively nurturing and took great joy in helping her friends with errands and chores and loved organizing frequent social gatherings, as well as fundraising events. She was also an active member of ‘Help Them Walk Again,’ an organization that aided those with spinal cord injuries. She maintained her love of basketball and volunteered as a coach and played in a wheelchair league.
Fran very much enjoyed the entertainment scene in Las Vegas and she and her friends took advantage of the opportunity to see many of their favorite acts and famous performers. In 2013, Fran returned to Hurricane where she made new friends and enjoyed gardening and decorating her home and yard for every holiday, especially Halloween and Christmas.
Fran had a true passion for life and was an inspiration to all who knew her – especially to those aware of the tremendous struggles she endured. Her strength, positive attitude and determination encouraged others to persevere. She was always fun to be with and brightened the lives of everyone she encountered. She cherished time with her mother and the two had numerous adventures and loved shopping together.
She enjoyed time in her yard and gardening with her late father. She also enjoyed the wonderful times she spent with her two late grandmothers. She also had a very special relationship with her sister Tracy and the two spoke or texted daily and loved the time they were able to spend together. Some of her other favorite activities included spending time with her family, especially at their cabin on Kolob Mountain. She was also deeply attached to her many dogs over the years, especially a Yorkshire terrier named Breezy who was a constant lap companion. Fran will live in the hearts of her family and friends forever.
The family would like to thank all those who helped Fran and spent time with her over the last few years, especially those who visited her and helped with tasks that became difficult for her. Fran is survived by her mother Monta; sister Tracy (Mark) Zabriskie of Corvallis, Oregon; brother Brad (Lee Melchor) Ballard of Virgin, Utah; and six nieces and nephews. She is also survived by several loving aunts and uncles and had very close relationships with a number of cousins. She was preceded in death by her father Tim and brother Steven.
A celebration of Fran’s life to allow friends and family an opportunity to remember her will be held at a later date. Those wishing to honor and celebrate Fran’s memory can make a donation to support spinal cord injury research at:
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A
Short Hills, NJ 07078