Obituary: Hedi S. Ballantyne | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Hedi S. Ballantyne

Published February 9, 2018 at 7:31 p.m.
Updated September 6, 2019 at 11:19 a.m.

Hedi S. Ballantyne
  • Hedi S. Ballantyne

Hedi S. Ballantyne passed away in Montpelier on January 27, 2018 after a short illness. She was born in Vienna, Austria on September 4, 1927 to Dr. Richard Stoehr and Marie (Eitler) Stoehr. Her early years of music and childhood were disrupted by war, as her father escaped to America, her brother to Scandinavia, and she to England. Richard Stoehr found work teaching music at St Michaels College, and after the war the rest of the family joined him in Winooski.

Hedi enrolled at UVM to study education and there met Charlie Ballantyne. They married in 1948, and started their family with Charlie’s daughter from a previous marriage. They both graduated from UVM in 1950.

In 1955, they moved to Montpelier, now with 3 young daughters. Her engagement and energy was evident not only in her own life but in her commitment to making a difference. Hedi had a passion for dance and exercise, having taught dance to young children in the 50's-60's, including her daughters in the classes. She continued to keep fit and active throughout her life and into her last years. She was a long-time member of the League of Women Voters and the Foreign Language Teachers Association, and served for a time as president. In 1962 Hedi originally went to Harwood Union High school as a substitute French teacher, and they decided to keep her on to teach both French and German. She retired from Harwood 25 years later. Even after her retirement, she continued to tutor immigrants through the Central VT Adult basic Education program.

Teaching was only one of Hedi’s passions. Giving back to her community and volunteering for organizations both domestically and internationally was dear to Hedi’s heart. She felt the need to give a helping hand to others since she was given help when she needed it. Of all the organizations she volunteered for Heifer Project International was her favorite. For 13 years Hedi and Charlie would spend two winter months as the hosts for other volunteers at HPI’s Overlook farm in Rutland, Mass. To continue the legacy of their work, Hedi has remained instrumental in fundraising for HPI through her church.

For 62 years Hedi has been a vibrant and encouraging member of the Unitarian Church in Montpelier. She continued to serve on numerous committees and projects till the end. She sang in the church choir as well as the Onion River Chorus and Hospice Choir, inspired by the music that surrounded her from childhood. A multi-chorus program enabled her to bring her own choir group to her beloved Vienna, to share her rememberences through fresh eyes.

Hedi loved to travel and meet people from around the world. She made many trips to Europe both with students and to visit friends, and shared her home with many visitors as well. After retirement, she added volunteer project trips to Latin American countries, adding Spanish and more friendships to her long list of experiences. Her latest trip to Vienna celebrated her father’s life and music and allowed her to share her stories of surviving the war with students there.

Hedi was a much loved and loving wife, mother and grandmother. She was predeceased by her husband, Charlie Ballantyne, and her brother, Richard. Hedi is survived by her children: Leslie Jean Ballantyne and husband Jerry Fox; Janet Ballantyne and husband David Sokol; Karen Ballantyne; and Edward Ballantyne and wife Janis, as well as 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Heifer Project International at

Mailing address: HPI, 1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202

A celebration of Hedi’s life will be held in May at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vermont.

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