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LaNeal Ann (Thetford) Ballew

LaNeal Ann (Thetford) Ballew was born on November 7, 1934 at Horn Hill, Texas. She passed on May 23, 2019 at the age of 84 at the Groesbeck LTC Nursing-Rehab Center in Groesbeck, Texas after a brief stay. Her parents were Joe Jefferies and James Samuel “Sammie” (Lewis) Thetford.

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at the Fort Parker Memorial Cemetery in Groesbeck, Texas, conducted by her sons.

LaNeal was a Groesbeck High School Graduate and earned her nursing certification as a Registered Nurse from the Providence School of Nursing on September 2, 1956. LaNeal, retired from Providence Hospital in 1978. She had a distinguished career as a surgical nurse, including working as the Head Nurse of Surgery and the newly formed Cardiovascular Department. Always a practical person, she couldn’t believe the high cost of a specialized bib utilized in open heart surgery to properly position the heart. She looked over the bib and determined she could make them herself. She went to the local fabric store, purchased the materials, and was able to make an exact duplicate for only $1.50 in supplies. She produced these bibs a few years. She stated that after they went through the sterilization process there was no difference between the two, other than a couple hundred dollars. She finished her career as the Head Nurse at the Mexia State School in Mexia, Texas. She retired in 1997 at the age of 62, due to the effects of rheumatoid arthritis.

Throughout her life she enjoyed doing hand work such as embroidery and crocheting. This was a hobby she picked up from her mother who was an avid needle worker, having made crocheted blankets for every child, grand-child and neighbor. She also enjoyed playing games with her children and in later years her grandchildren. Her favorite games were Moon and 42 with dominoes, or any assortment of board games. When video games came into being, she adapted along with her grandchildren and loved playing the Legend of Zelda and other adventure games. As a sixty something grandmother she had her own Nintendo and would play through the levels of a game until she would get to the Boss fight. At that point her arthritis would prevent her from winning the level. She would wait for the grandkids to come and they would beat the boss for her, and she would then play through the next level.

She was also an avid baker, and a great country cook. When her children were in school, the family lived in Gholson, TX surrounded by cousins. It was not uncommon for the cousins to come to her house after school looking for some form of baked treat. An inside joke between her and her sons was the time one of the younger cousins came looking for a treat and there weren’t any. She told him she hadn’t been to the grocery and therefore didn’t have any thing to make cookies. He spotted a jar of pickle juice and asked what about that. Anytime afterwards if she saw an empty pickle jar she would chuckle and remember that day.

She could be firm when the occasion called for it, but she was known as a friend to everyone and went out of her way to help in any way possible.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and “Sammie” Thetford, her daughter Julie Ann Ballew, as well as a sister Rachel (Thetford) Henderson, and a brother James “Jim” Thetford.

She is survived by: Her two sons – Horton Colby Ballew, his wife Lori (Lacey) of Montgomery, Texas and children, Karli and Kendall Ballew; – and Joe Wayne Ballew, his wife Georgia (Mann) of McKinney, Texas, and children, George, Neal, Colby, and Brooksine (Hawkins); her brother Billy Joe Thetford of Killeen, Texas; and sister Diane (Croy) of Little Elm, Texas. She also had eight great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Groesbeck Journal

P.O. Box 440
Groesbeck, TX 76642
Phone: 254-729-5103
Fax: 254-729-0362