Obituary for Phyllis Ballantyne
March 19, 1937 – February 22, 2021
Ballantyne, Phyllis Anne Deriemaeker, 83, passed away peacefully on February 22, 2021 in Avondale, AZ.
Phyllis was born in Duluth, Minnesota on March 19, 1937 to Lucien Phillip and Frances Adel(Sequin) Deriemaeker Benson. She was the second oldest of five children and graduated in 1954 from Denfeld High School. She started a pen pal relationship with a young soldier name Jack Raymond Ballantyne who soon showed up at her doorstep. They married on a spring blizzard day, April 7, 1956. They set up home in Cherokee, Iowa and opened a TV and radio repair shop where she kept the books in their upstairs apartment. Opportunities beckoned and they packed up all their belongings in an old Packard and drove to Palmdale, California. A lifechanging event happened soon after when she gave birth prematurely to Marcia who did not survive. In 1961 they moved to Arapaho Dr. in Santa Ana, where she met many of her lifelong friends. She signed up on an adoption list and soon adopted a baby boy, John, in 1962, followed by a baby girl, Lynn, in 1963.
As her children grew, she started a part time job at a bank in Laguna Hills, CA. Then, she found her true calling as Religious Education Director for Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Phyllis was very active in the church, not only directing the religious education for hundreds of children, but also organizing the first church camp-out that thrived for many years to come. Retirement was calling in 1988; Jack and Phyllis moved to Nevada City, CA, where she became active in St. Canice Catholic Church, and again she was asked to direct the religious education program. She lost her soulmate and husband of 40 years in 1997. She was alone for many years after until a neighbor introduced her to wonderful man with whom she spent much time and travel. She had many hobbies including entertaining, reading, and traveling. Every summer for thirty years the family camped, water skied, and made many friends at Lassen View Resort, Lake Almanor. She loved old country music and was especially fond of Neil Diamond. She was loved by so many people and never met a stranger. With a wonderful sense of humor, she was always the first to laugh at herself. She could be stubborn with a very determined attitude. She was always the optimist and was forever singing or whistling her favorite tune. She went out of her way for her friends, was godmother(Nina) to numerous children, and did not miss any of her grandchildren’s milestones.
Her last couple of years were spent in Arizona close to her sister, Pat. Many friends and family were able to visit. Phyllis is preceded in death by husband Jack Ballantyne, daughter Marcia Ballantyne, sister Judith Deriemaeker Gucinski (Martin), and brother Duane Deriemaeker. She is survived by son John Ballantyne (Riitta), daughter Lynn Ballantyne (Randy), and grandchildren, Jake Welty, Wesley, Jack, Hannele, and Luke Ballantyne and many nieces and nephews. Sister Mary June Deriemaeker Donahue (Tom), sister Pat Deriemaeker Sundeen (Ann), sister in laws Gerri Deriemaeker and Joan Ballantyne.
The family will gather in Nevada City to celebrate her life with a mass at St Canice Church and burial at a later date. In lieu of flowers please donate to St Canice Religious Education Program
at 317 Washington St. Nevada City, Ca. 95959
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