March 14, 1953 - June 28, 2023
Jeremy Brooks Ballance died peacefully at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington D.C., following several years of illness. He was 70 years old.
Born in Portsmouth, Virginia to the late Nelson Ballance and Jessie (Honaker) Ballance, he grew up in the Maryland suburbs of D.C. A series of tragedies struck his family there: A brother and sister, Michael and Anita, both died in infancy, and later, an illness left his mother paralyzed. Among the hardship, Jeremy found refuge in music, playing guitar, and traveling to concerts. By the time he graduated from high school, he had seen Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Neil Young, John Prine, and many other musical greats.
He later moved to North Carolina, graduated from Mitchell College, became a Christian, and began writing his own music and performing publicly and at churches. He met Phyllis Hudson and the two married in 1976, settling in Winston-Salem, where they raised three children, Kara, Aaron, and Jennifer. The two were married for 24 years.
Jeremy's creativity was central to his life. He could play several musical instruments. He was a singer, a songwriter, a photographer, a trained chef, and he could hilariously impersonate a range of subjects. Through the many changes and challenges that life brought, Jeremy was a steady emotional support for his children and grandchildren and encouraged their creative pursuits.
He found renewed joy in the final years of his life reconnecting with his adolescent sweetheart, Mary Higgs, who brought unwavering love, friendship, and support as his health declined. Through many hospitalizations and numerous illnesses, he remained strong, continually overcoming the odds and never abandoning his will to heal. At the time of his death, he had recovered nearly fully from a bilateral stroke and was relearning guitar.
He is survived by his daughter, Kara Ballance and her son and daughter, Jax Barbour and Lila Barbour; son, Aaron Ballance and his wife, Stephanie Ballance; daughter, Jennifer Ballance and her daughter, Ayden Myers; ex-wife, Phyllis Ballance; soul companion and love, Mary Higgs; and very dear friend, Bruce Albro. The memory of Jeremy's kind, gentle and comedic spirit will always be cherished by those who loved him.
A private memorial service will be planned for a later date, and his ashes scattered at the Outer Banks.