Margaret Stokes Ballard (aka Mida Ballard), 70, died July 6, 2020, of extended sleep apnea at her home in Bar Harbor following complications of Lyme disease. She was born Dec. 16, 1949, in Cold Spring, N.Y., the only daughter of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard and Charlotte Car (Morrison) Ballard.
Growing up the free-spirited leader of a group of younger children in the Newport, R.I., neighborhood around the Trinity (Episcopal) Church rectory at 81 Rhode Island Ave., Newport, R.I., Mida graduated from Rogers High School, Class of 1967, and the University of New Hampshire, Class of 1971, where her free spirit was well known. Mida married Joel Itskowitz, a UNH classmate, at Trinity Church in historic Newport, with Canon Lockett Ford Ballard officiating. They settled in New Jersey, where Mida discovered her lifelong vocation for construction and handywork. Divorced in 1974, Mida’s feminist lesbian identity found a lifelong outlet in her construction, repair and renovation companies: Mountain Home Carpentry, Colorado Springs, Colo.; New Horizons Construction, Bar Harbor and Southampton, N.Y.; and finally Mida’s Touch Renovations, Bar Harbor, where she built her own house and was noted for innovative exhibit furniture designs and impeccable construction at The Abbe Museum.
Settling in Bar Harbor in the 1990s, Mida joined the Bangor women’s spiritual singing circle, Women With Wings, and quickly became an integral member. She went from “not being able to carry a tune in a 5-gallon bucket” to writing songs of her own. When Wings incorporated as a nonprofit, she became the president and served in that capacity until last year. Mida also served on its council for many years and hosted several memorable summer retreats. She was the motivating force and organizer to get the WWW songbook completed, and she schlepped the WWW CDs and songbooks to various events to sell. Over the years, her dedication and belief in Wings and its mission were an integral part of the group’s growth and continuity. She is deeply loved by women in the WWW group and found further outlet of her musical and feminist ideals at the Michigan Women’s Festival for nearly 20 years.
A celebration of Mida’s life will be held over Zoom on Aug. 8, 2020, at 11 a.m. For a link to the service, please email [email protected] before July 30. Scattering of Mida’s ashes on Mount Desert Island will be organized by Women With Wings after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, and it is safe to gather in large numbers again.
Mida is survived by her ex-husband, Joel Itskowitz, of Reston, Va.; her brother, Lockett Ford Ballard Jr., of Newport, R.I.; her cousin, James Harcourt Ballard Jr. of Santa Fe, N.M.; and many other cousins on her mother’s side.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Women With Wings at www.womenwithwings.org/home or St. Michael’s County Day School, Newport, R.I., at https://smcds.org/.
Arrangements by Jordan-Fernald, 1139 Main St., Mount Desert.
Condolences may be expressed at www.jordanfernald.com.