Rhona Ballard Twombly, a former Altamont resident, died on Nov. 5 after a brief illness. She was 102 and had lived in the Kingsway Community in Schenectady after moving from Altamont in 2008. She had lived in Altamont for 45 years and worked for 18 years for Guilderland Central High School.
She was born in Georgia, VT, on farmland her Ballard antecedents bought from Ira Allen, brother of Revolutionary War patriot Ethan Allen in the 1780's. Her father Julian Ballard was a successful farmer and her mother Celia Wing Ballard had been a telegraph station manager in Vermont. Mrs. Ballard, who lived in Altamont at the end of her life, was a descendent of a Wing family that help to settle Sandwich, MA, in the 1630's.
Rhona attended a one-room school in Georgia through eighth grade and boarded at Montpelier Seminary in Montpelier, VT, for high school. The school now is the Vermont College of Fine Arts and until her death she was its oldest living alumnus. She was honored in 2012 at the school's graduation when a granddaughter was awarded an MFA degree. Rhona also attended American International College in Springfield, MA. She later moved to Burlington, VT, where she worked for the University of Vermont and met her future husband Raymond Twombly to whom she was married for 60 years. He died in 2001 while living in Altamont.
Rhona is survived by two sons; Jay of New Canaan, CT, and Angus of Alexandria, VA, by her daughter-in-law Linda McNiven Twombly of New Canaan and by her former daughter-in-law Deborah Robb Twombly of Exeter, NH. She also is survived by six grandchildren, each of whom visited her during her last illness, and by 13 great grandchildren. Baking and gardening were among Rhona's passions and she was known by many of her descendents as the cookie grandmother.She loved tending her own gardens and into her mid-90s often would eat breakfast or lunch on a summer day in the garden alone, appreciating the perennials she had nurtured for decades and the brightly color annuals that she always favored.
While living in Altamont, she was a volunteer at the Altamont Reformed Church and at the Guilderland Interfaith Council Food Pantry, was active in the Altamont Garden Club and helped maintain the gardens in Altamont's Village Square for years.
Her sons will host a reception for friends and family at the Altamont Reformed Church on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 1 - 2:30 p.m. All who knew her are welcome. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Altamont Free Library, PO Box 662, Altamont, NY 12009 or to The Samaritan Fund, Altamont Reformed Church, PO Box 671, Altamont, NY 12009.