Sue Ann Ballou Weir – Obituary

By  | September 2, 2018 | Filed under: Laughlin Service Funeral Home, Obituaries

Sue Ann Ballou Weir, 81, of Huntsville, AL, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 27, 2018, after a long battle with Scleroderma.

Sue was born in Kettering, OH to parents Ralph Laurence Ballou and June Gastineau Grinsted. It will surprise no one who knew Sue that she descended from abolitionists, political “anarchists” of the 1800’s, the first female superintendent of schools in Kentucky, and the well-known American Spiritualist author and free-love advocate, Moses Hull.  (It is worth noting that Sue’s great-great grandfather Hull was also responsible for nominating Frederick Douglass to be suffragette Victoria Woodhull’s Vice President on the 1872 Equal Rights Party ticket!) Sue was surrounded by her fun-loving Gastineau relatives as a child, strongly influenced by her professional percussionist father, and adored by her younger half-siblings, Gayle, Ace, Ollie and Carla.  This smart and ambitious young lady enjoyed playing the flute in her high school band, teaching music lessons in her father’s music store, and running around with her best friend Peggy.

Sue graduated from Fairmont High School in 1955 and was one of two commencement speakers at her graduation. She then went on to Miami of Ohio University to pursue a degree in Education, where she was the first chair flutist in the band, student taught for one year, and graduated early in 1959.  Sue relocated to Shalimar, FL to work as an elementary school teacher at Eglin Air Force Base.  There, she met and married Robert Homer Weir (Bob).  Sue and Bob then moved to Huntsville, AL in 1960 as Bob joined the developing NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

In her early Huntsville years, Sue raised three children: Scott, Kent and Robyne, at the Weir family home on Colice Road. Being a mother was Sue’s greatest joy.  She created a home that was well known as a gathering place for neighborhood kids, a multitude of pets, spot-light and water-balloon battles, occasional juvenile delinquency, and legendary basketball games in the driveway.  At some point, her motherly “squawking” earned her the nickname of, “the bird,” which stuck with the neighborhood kids.

She took her children on adventures to pick cotton and blackberries, planned cross-country trips complete with her infamous “Bird Productions” movie camera, and made sure that all three kids learned to water ski in the shark/alligator infested bayous of Shalimar, FL. Sue also shared her love of children with the community through coaching T-ball teams, volunteering as a Den Mother, leading Girl-Scouts, and serving as Huntsville Middle School Band Mom. Sue also loved to work in her garden and to socialize with her long-time “steak club” friends.

Sue went back to school and back to work in 1978 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH.) She participated in solar energy research programs initially and earned her MBA in 1980.  Sue then became the Director of the Research Administration Department at UAH, where she worked for 22 years until her retirement in September 2000. While at UAH, Sue traveled extensively and made lifelong friends with her co-workers.

After Sue and Bob divorced in 1981, she found her life partner, Lott Whitt Brantley Jr. aka, the true redneck rocket scientist!   Whitt brought even more kids into Sue’s life:  Little Whitt, Larry, Danielle and Tasia.  Sue and Whitt shared 37 years of love and laughter, a glass or two of Jack Daniels, and plenty of Terry’s Pizza.  They traveled the world together, including trips all over the continental US and North America, Hawaii, Bahamas, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, and Japan.  During these years, Sue and Whitt also enjoyed becoming grandparents of 13 children – continuing the circle of life, love, and the space-time continuum.

Sue was preceded in death by her partner of 37 years, Lott Whitt Brantley, Jr. Survivors include her children, Scott Weir of Atlanta, GA (Andrea), Kent Weir of Cullman, AL (Mimi) and Robyne Weir Ruterbusch of Cardiff By The Sea, CA (Vic); former spouse and father of her children, Robert H. Weir (Pat); stepchildren, Lott Whitt Brantley III, Larry Brantley, Tasia Malakasis and Danielle Baldwin;  siblings, Gayle Grinsted Lawyer, Albert “Ace” Grinsted (Tricia), Ollie Ballou Bates (Kevin) and Carla Ballou;  and grandchildren, Kohl Weir, Allie Weir, Maggie Weir, Shelby Weir, John Scott Weir, Robert Weir, August Ruterbusch, Lyndsay Ruterbusch, Parker Brantley, Michael Brantley, Kelley Hay, Taran Baldwin and Lakyn Baldwin.

Sue’s family wishes to express their gratitude to Sue’s in-home caregiver and personal angel of 14 years, Maureen Sylvester, and to Hospice of North Alabama for their comfort, care, patience and love.

A graveside service and burial of cremains will be held on Friday, September 14, 2018, 10:00 AM, at Maple Hill Cemetery – Lot 703, Section I, Space 7, with the Reverend Doctor Tara Bulger of First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, AL officiating.

An informal celebration-of-life luncheon reception (drop-in) will follow immediately after the service, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Conservatory, 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, Huntsville, AL 35805. All are welcome and invited to browse the gardens after their visit as guests of Sue’s family.

Flowers may be sent to Laughlin Service Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Sue Ballou Weir Scholarship at The University of Alabama in Huntsville:  (https://uah.givingfuel.com/give) Select “Other,” specify intended designation: “Sue Ballou Weir Scholarship Fund”, and select “honor/memory.”  Donations may also be made by mail or in person: The University of Alabama in Huntsville / Office of Development / 301 Sparkman Drive, SKH third floor / Huntsville, AL 35899).

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