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Jan 18, 1933 - Jan 18, 2013 OKLAHOMA CITY Mary Virginia Ballinger, 80, a longtime resident of Oklahoma City, passed away on January 18, 2013, after a brief illness. Virginia (Ginger) was born in Wink, Texas, on January 18, 1933, to Douglas C. Corley and Dorothy M. (Johnson) Corley. She was given the perfect birthday gift of seeing her Lord and Savior face to face on her 80th birthday. She graduated from high school in Nocona, Texas, in 1951 and married James (Sam) Ballinger on March 7, 1953. They enjoyed 52 years together before Sam passed away in November 2005. Virginia held many jobs throughout her life, including being a soda clerk in a drug store, a telephone operator, a bank teller, a supervisor with United Cerebral Palsy of OKC, then retiring from Halliburton Services as a secretary in the field office in OKC. Her passion and work for the past nineteen years has been working with her therapy dogs, JJ and Molly, and most recently Ace and Amber, brightening the lives of people in hospitals, nursing homes, the Salvation Army Service Center, the center for battered women, and in children's homes around Oklahoma. Virginia enjoyed training and certifying other people's dogs for Therapy Dogs International. She was known around the state as a dog obedience trainer, a dog rescuer, and for her help in fostering and adopting out dogs. She enjoyed her work in senior centers around Oklahoma City as she trained senior adults how to work with and train their dogs. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Sam. She was a devoted mother and inspiration to her surviving family and friends. She is survived by her children: James (Rick) Ballinger and his wife Linda, of Callisburg, Texas; Bill Ballinger and his wife Ellen, of Oklahoma City; and Christi Muno and her husband Terry, of Colleyville, Texas. She is also survived by nine grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a sister, Ellen Walker and husband James, of Austin, Texas; a brother, Doug Corley and wife Sammie, of Lubbock, Texas; a sister-in-law, Margaret Harris, and husband Tom, and son Lee, of Oklahoma City; and her beloved therapy dogs, Ace and Amber. She will also be missed by a multitude of nieces, nephews and friends. Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 10 a.m. at Sooner Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma. The service will be officiated by The Rev. Alvin Garrison, The Rev. Bill Ballinger, and The Rev. Bill Spain. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite animal shelter or the Animal Resource Center rescue organization.

Published in The Oklahoman from Jan. 20 to Jan. 21, 2013
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