Lilly Gillespie, a past volunteer at the Corner of Heaven Home, helped to raise over $650 for Pathways to English in honor of her nana, Margery Ballem. We wanted to share a little bit about Margery and the incredible legacy she left behind.
Margery Ballem loved her family. It was the most important thing in her life and she showed that through her actions. Margery loved spending time with her friends and family. She played the card game Bridge very frequently. She was in many Bridge clubs & groups with her friends and played numerous times a week up until the last few months of her life. Margery was also an amazing pianist. For many years in her life, she played the piano for ballet classes and in church. She was artistic and made beautiful wreaths. During Christmas time, she hosted a Christmas party, where she dressed up as Santa and gave gifts to all the children. She was said to make the BEST homemade toffee crunch.
Margery’s granddaughter, Lilly, volunteered at the Foyer Coin des Cieux orphanage and school during the Spring 2019 semester. Her experience was life changing. The love Lilly felt for the children at the FCC was immeasurable. Lilly enjoyed her time with the children, especially their walks after school, getting treats at the market, the dance parties, and piling in the back of Fritzner’s truck to go to the beach. Her favorite memory was celebrating her 19th birthday in Haiti. It was an unforgettable memory being surrounded by all the kids and receiving special cards they each made her. “The experience taught me so many things, but most importantly to be thankful for what I have. So many of the children who came from the community had absolutely nothing, but they were some of the happiest children I have ever met. It is an experience that I will never forget and I can’t wait to go back and see them all.” -Lilly.
When Lilly told her nana, Margery, she was going to Haiti, she was excited and nervous. Margery had never had the internet, but once she found out she would be gone for over 4 months in Haiti, she made sure to get the internet so she could FaceTime Lilly and the kids. Margery also sent Lilly to Haiti with a bag full of supplies that she could take to the orphanage. During Lilly’s semester in Haiti, Margery and Lilly’s mom put together a care package for the children and other volunteers. Margery was able to chat with Lilly and the children at the FCC multiple times a week. She loved chatting with the kids and learned each of their names.
When Margery was in the hospital, she mentioned that in lieu of flowers, people could donate to help the children in Haiti. After she passed away, Lilly and her mom found notes of what she wanted at her funeral and other arrangements. Margery had written that all donations in her memory were to be made to the Foyer Coin des Cieux orphanage. She also requested that the video Lilly made of her time in Haiti was played at her funeral and it was.
Margery was very generous. Up until the last few weeks of her life, she was serving others. Her example has instilled a sense of compassion and empathy in the people she surrounded herself with, especially Lilly. Margery was selfless. Everyone else’s needs came before her own. Lilly says, “Although I am heartbroken and miss her so much, it warms my heart to know that even though she is no longer with us, she continues to give. I couldn’t be prouder to be her granddaughter.”