In Memory of





Obituary for Nina Lee Ledford (Balding)

Nina Balding Ledford, age 94, passed away on January 15, 2024. She was a woman of faith. Born and bred in the Spring Creek Community of Madison County to Chan and Evelyn Balding. A depression era child, she was the youngest of six children, survived by one sister, Cleo Lane of Winston Salem.

Nina was a graduate of Mars Hill and Carson Newman College. She taught sixth grade at Mars Hill Elementary School in Mars Hill for 40 years. Asked recently if she ever regretted being a schoolteacher, Nina replied, “why no, the Lord called me to be a teacher. I really enjoyed it.” Nina’s daughter, Laura, remembers fondly every time she and her mom went loafing in Madison County a former student would recognize her and strike up a conversation. Mom was always beaming after one of these chance encounters.

Nina was married to James Talmadge Ledford for almost 4 decades. They are survived by their three adult children, Laura Ann, Mike, and John Ledford of Mars Hill.

Nina was a member of Forks of Ivy Baptist church continuing her attendance there into her late eighties. She enjoyed attending services at Mars Hill UMC in her last years of life with her daughter, Laura.

After Nina’s retirement from teaching, she embarked on several RV cross country trips with her husband James and her daughter. She especially enjoyed Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon but was always ready to return home to her mountains.
Nina was blessed with three grandchildren, Sarah Ledford, Christy, Kyle, and the late James Colton Schmid. She loved having them all come for the night and hear them giggling together always preparing their favorite meal, Chicken and dumplings, corn, and beans.

Nina spent her last year of life residing at the Mars Hill Manor Assisted Living facility with her faithful pup, Gypsy, by her side. She adored walking Gypsy down South Main Street and seeing old friends in the community passing by. She continued walking Gypsy even when she had to rely on her walker for support. A woman of quiet resilience Mrs. Ledford never gave up her zest for life. Even in her last years she was a positive force, asking about others. The telephone rang daily in her room, family and friends calling to update her and hear her voice. One very special exchange was with her daughter recently when she was asked, “Mom how did you manage to live thru all the ups and downs of this life?” And she replied: “One day at a time!”

A celebration of life will be held this Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 2:00 pm at the Robbie Capps Funeral Home in Mars Hill.

All expressions of sympathy, including flowers, are welcomed, and can be sent to Blue Ridge Funeral Service.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at