Thursday, October 8, 2020

Ora M. Balentine

Ora Mae Balentine went to her heavenly home on October 8, 2020. She was born on February 11, 1937 to Caston Edward Ray and Emma Scoggins Ray in Choctaw County near Weir, MS. She attended school at Weir Attendance Center for all 12 years. After graduating at Weir High School, she earned an Associate Degree at Northwest Junior College in Senatobia. She then began what would become a career of over 30 years as a public school teacher. Starting in Eudora, MS, she then taught in Ethel and finally in Weir where she grew up. In those first couple of years of teaching she also completed her Bachelor of Science degree at Mississippi State University. She was a passionate MSU Bulldog fan and was always willing to let folks know her allegiance.

She believed that teaching was a calling and not just a job. She demonstrated that belief throughout her career. As is the case with teachers of that same mindset, she nurtured and loved her students. If a child needed a pair of shoes or a coat in winter, she quietly made sure they received those, but she always did so in a discreet and loving way. There was a significant number of her students that followed her footsteps to become teachers based on the example she set in her classrooms. While she had taught other grades, her true love was the 3rd grade. There has never been anyone who loved being a teacher more than her. Her other love in addition to teaching, Mississippi State, and Weir Attendance Center was horses. As a small child she fell in love with her father's many horses and became an avid and excellent rider.

Her faith also could be seen in how she loved her neighbors and her community. She and her late husband were active in their Weir Baptist Church, where she was a Sunday School teacher. Together they were always finding ways to lend a helping hand to folks in need. One of the most beloved gifts were her phenomenal fried apple pies.

She was married for almost 50 years to her late husband, Burl Balentine. She is survived by her sons, Ray (Cindy) Balentine of Madison, MS and Roy Balentine of Brandon, MS; grandchildren Carrie Balentine and Will Balentine, both of Madison, MS; and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews; as well an countless students and friends from all around the country. She is preceded in death by her loving parents, Caston and Emma Ray; brothers Ovin C. Ray and his wife Loula Zell Ray, and Olon E. Ray.

Special thanks are sent to the many loving and wonderful medical staff who took care her over these past few years. Among those are the staffs at Wisteria Gardens, Brookdale – Ridgeland, and Brandon Nursing and Rehab Center. Also, a special thanks and appreciation is to the staff at Compassus Hospice for their loving care these past months.

A graveside service will be held at the Weir Cemetery in Weir, MS on Monday October 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM. Social distancing and the wearing of masks will be greatly appreciated if attending.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her honor to the Weir Elementary Library, 351 Marion Kelley Drive, Weir, MS 39772. Donations should be made to Weir Elementary Library.