Rita Farley Ballard

rita ballard

June 23, 1955 ~ August 21, 2022

BALLARD, RITA FARLEY lost her valiant struggle against cancer on August 21. A native Atlantan, Rita attended East Atlanta High School where she announced to her classmates that she would one day be a movie star—a proclamation that earned her the lifetime nickname of “Hollywood”. When she was 25, she abandoned those plans to marry John Ballard, who made her the center of his existence.

Over the following years, Rita would embrace the roles of personal driver, coach, and cheerleader to three wonderful children whom she raised to follow God and who were baptized by their grandfather. As adults, Jeremy, Mia, and Megan respectively married Khatera, Derrick, and Benjamin to whom Rita became an unending source of love and awe. They later would give her the part she was born to play—doting grandmother to Khalif, Bravery, Zala, Sage, and Olin. For them and for all who loved her, she was their star.

In addition to her immediate family, Rita is survived by two sisters, JoAnn and Janice; three brothers, Daryl, Kenny, and Jerome and their spouses; her sister-in law Pam and her husband Bill; and a host of nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. At any family function, no matter how large, Rita took center stage. The spotlight was always hers; there is no one who can replace her. Now, however, her star will forever shine in the celestial host. Our loss is Heaven’s gain.

A memorial service will be held:

September 16, 2022 at 12:00pm
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta (next to the High Museum )
1328 Peachtree St NE
Atlanta, Ga

After the service, we will continue the celebration of her life at the Ballard residence, her home of 40 years.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Foundation for Women’s Cancer 230 W. Monroe, Suite 710, Chicago, Illinois 60606.

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  1. Ashli Reed says:

    Mrs. Ballard you will forever be remembered and in our hearts! Thank you Jeremy, Mia and Megan for sharing your mother❤️

  2. Stephanie Mohammed says:

    My condolences to the family and all those who she treated as family. I met her in person a few times and loved her energy and warmness. I pray for peace to help your family deal with this tremendous loss. Sending love and light.

  3. Chiquita Cox says:

    Mrs. Ballard you will be missed I won’t get any short six flags jokes. I love you take your rest 💕

  4. Jarian Goss says:

    Truly my second mom, i lived in the ballards house just as much as i lived in my own, I remember she would make us pull weeds in her garden before we played basketball in the back yard, i have so many memories of getting in the brown subaru hatchback with jeremy, mia and megan and cruising through the city lol, you will forever be missed, love you

  5. Shari Hill says:

    Dear Ballard Family,
    Thank You for sharing such an amazing soul with us. She truly was our biggest cheerleader and Lady Warrior! She will be missed immensely! I love you all so much!!!!

  6. Janice Abrams says:

    My Sincere Condolences to the Family! Rita will truly be missed any time that we spent together was Amazing, she was a very loving and caring person she didn’t meet a stranger made everyone feel welcome. I thank God for the time I was able to share with her. RIH 💔💐

  7. Princess Watts says:

    May God bless you all, during your time of grief! She was beautiful!

  8. Kathryn Gibson says:

    Much love to you and the family Mia. She lives in each of you always ❤️ 💕.

  9. Keenan & family says:

    Love you all….rest peacefully momma Ballard you will truly be missed East Atlanta queen

    • Jackie Fudge says:

      I am grieving with the family. I pray that the all wise God gives your family strength during this time of loss. Rita was a happy smiling person who was always kind to me.

  10. Marvin & Tammie Jones says:

    Mia, I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of your mother. We are praying for you and your family. Love you guys

  11. Everlena Danforth says:

    So sorry for the passing of your precious Mom. Praying for you all, in the name of Jesus.

  12. Trivius Caldwell says:

    My heart is sad given the passing of this wonderful woman. Family indeed, she lit up East Atlanta and taught us young men the value of work hard, play hard. I learned valuable lessons in her backyard, or simply chatting as she watered flowers. She will be missed. My condolences to a wonderful family.

  13. Deborah Hursey says:

    To John, Jeremy, Mia, Megan my prayers are with you all Rita was an amazing person that show me and my husband nothing but love we will always cherish the friendship ❤ thanks for sharing her.

  14. Connie Ellis says:

    I met Mrs. Rita through her daughter Mia and her son in law Derrick.Mrs.Rita was a caring and loving women. She was a shinning light to everyone who met her . She made many cakes for me and they were delicious. She will be missed by many. My family and I will continue to pray for her family. Love you Mia and Derrick Ms.Ellis

  15. Shawanda stodghill says:

    She will truly be missed, she was a special lady ❤❤❤

  16. Tawana Coleman says:

    My Sincere Condolences to the Family! Mrs.Ballard will truly be missed. RIH🙏🏾🕊🙏🏾

  17. Shalonda Rowan says:

    My prayers are with you and your family at this time. Rita was the best light at North Atlanta and was always a breath of fresh air. Depending on Mrs. Ballard was easy…She will be missed.

  18. Antonio Taylor says:

    I send my condolences to the Ballard Family. The Ballard’s were my first example of true love and what a husband and wife should look like. I came from a single parent home and they took me in and loved me like their own. Mrs. Ballard was hard on me and I am so grateful for her tough conversations, while I couldn’t do no wrong in the eyes of Mr. Ballard! Thanks to their children for sharing them with me! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

  19. Portia Latimore says:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family doing this difficult time…Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal…Weeping may Endure for a night…but Joy cometh in the morning…praying for y’all strength…

    • Arlinda Rafe says:

      You will be missed Rita (my Rita May). I will miss bringing Melo over to play with Brave and Bam while watching you and Lana take Snapchat pictures or sit and wait for the boys to ask for something else to eat or drink. From cooking cookies to doing something outside, we had each other laughing the entire time. I will have all my pictures and text from you but I will always have your memories. Love you my Rita May.

  20. Cynthia Adams Harris says:

    My condolences and prayers to the family..Rita you will be missed
    Cynthia Adams Harris

  21. Andre UPSHAW says:


  22. Tiffany Piper says:

    Mrs, Ballard was my one of my FAVORITE 🤩 NAHS WARRIOR memories for several reasons! She was present and I felt her presence…and for that I THANK YOU BALLARD FAMILY for allowing her to love on us too!

  23. Michael Glass says:

    Rita was such a beautiful spirit! Will miss you my dearest friend!

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