Retha Ballard Alyea, 86, passed away peacefully at home on August 20, 2022.
A loving, devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Retha was known for her cheerful outgoing personality, hospitality, creativity, and her love and dedication to family, friends, and students. She had a talent for entertaining – hosting holiday gatherings where all were welcome, and strangers became lifelong friends. Whether hosting or attending, she always brought her signature hors d’oeuvres platters that overflowed with delicious treats, placed to create a work of art, and her beautiful floral arrangements added a touch of elegance to all occasions.
Throughout her life, she worked in many different capacities: flight attendant, legal and medical secretary, beauty pageant contestant and winner, and serving in various capacities for numerous charitable organizations. However, she found her true passion at the Timothy School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania where she taught autistic children for over twenty years. Retha’s loving, kind spirit and dedication helped her students accomplish heights they never thought possible. Following her retirement, she devoted her creative energy to her three grandchildren.
Retha was born and raised in Seagoville, Texas. She was the only child of Jewell and Oris Ballard and grew up surrounded by numerous loving aunts, uncles, and cousins. She graduated from Baylor University, and, always loving to learn, took numerous graduate courses at Southern Methodist University.
Retha met and married her husband of over 50 years, Fred, in Dallas, but they ultimately settled in Pennsylvania. She lived most of her life splitting her time between Bala Cynwyd, PA and Brant Beach, NJ, two of her favorite places in the world. She was an active member of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, the Brant Beach Yacht Club, and the Nassau Club in Princeton. Retha enjoyed spending time with family and friends, travelling, trying new restaurants, playing bridge, tennis, time on the beach, reading, and cross word puzzles.
Retha is survived by her daughter, Sara Alyea, son in law, TJ Anderson, and her granddaughters, Lindsey and Caroline Anderson. Her husband, Fred Alyea, and her grandson, Ethan Anderson, predeceased her.