Cover photo for Sally Sue Ballenger-Wood's Obituary
Sally Sue Ballenger-Wood Profile Photo
1937 Sally 2023

Sally Sue Ballenger-Wood

July 15, 1937 — September 30, 2023

Sally Ballenger Wood, beloved wife, mother, (great) grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend passed away peacefully surrounded by family at her home on Ballenger Ranch in Edgewood, New Mexico, on September 30, 2023, at the age of 86. She was born to Dr. Irby and Mary Lou Ballenger in July of 1937, in Albuquerque, NM where she grew up with her two sisters, Ruth Duffy and Nancy Ballenger. Sally is survived by her husband of 64 years, Vern L Wood, her three children Eileen Wood, Vern B. Wood (Marianne Garrity Wood), and Irby Wood (Laura Ross Wood), grandchildren Tela (Jesse Schwebach), Hannah, Seth, Grace, Baxter, Cayden, and Quincy, great-grandchildren Elliott and Esme, sister Ruth, and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, sister Nancy, and nephew Darin Duffy. A graduate of Highland High School in 1955, Sally continued her education at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English and Master’s Degree in Counseling. She dedicated her career to educating and counseling students, well-loved and respected by the communities she served. Sally’s professional journey included roles at Fort Collins High School (CO), Dallas Skills Center (TX), Albuquerque High Night School, New Futures High School, Valley High School, and Moriarty High School (NM). Sally's interests were as diverse as her passions for life. She was a devoted advocate for family and friends, whether near or far. She found solace and joy on the family ranch, among horses, cattle, and dogs, and had a deep love for all animals. Sally was an accomplished harpist, an avid reader, an enthusiastic photographer, and a dedicated solver of crosswords and puzzles. Her adventurous spirit led her to explore the world, making her a true globetrotter and lifelong learner. She maintained connections with old friends and former students, enjoying nothing more than hearing updates and stories from those she knew. Thoughtful, smart, and always quick to share a smile and a laugh, Sally will be remembered for her genuine support and generous encouragement of those around her. Her family will continue her legacy of treasuring the natural world – protecting animals and our land and appreciating the beautiful landscapes that surround us. A private family memorial will be held to remember and celebrate her life. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to any of the following charitable organizations in Sally’s memory: UNM Children’s Hospital UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Argos Dog Rescue (NM)
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