OBITUARY: Sarah Serafin


Sarah Indiana Ballew Serafin was born March 20, 1926 in Burke County, North Carolina and died January 18, 2020 in Murfreesboro, TN.  She was Indiana or Indy to her North Carolina family and friends but Sarah to the rest of the world.  Sarah was predeceased by her parents Belle Hunter Ballew and William Jay Ballew and her brothers Bill, John, Bob, and Hunter, and her nephews Robert Ballew, Phil Ballew, and Daniel Mace.

She was reared in the small foothill community of Nebo in McDowell County with her five brothers and attended Nebo School first grade through high school and Nebo First United Methodist Church.  The family ran a farm and a country store.  Her brothers built and maintained a tennis and a croquet court making their home the center of the community.  Growing up, Sarah was a good tennis and croquet player, and even as an adult in her nineties, could still be persuaded by her children and grandchildren to play a round of croquet.

After attending business school at Pfeiffer Junior College, she worked at the Moore General Hospital as a bookkeeper.  After WWII, she also worked as a bookkeeper for the Air Force in South Carolina, Georgia, and then Florida, where she met her future husband, John Serafin.  After marrying in Florida, they were transferred to New Mexico.  After that, the family settled in Tennessee.

In 1970, John was killed in an explosion at work, leaving 44-year old Sarah with four teenagers and two preteens to raise on her own.  With fortitude and grace, she reared all to become independent, educated, and successful adults.  After the children became adults, Sarah bought and ran a film developing store, MotoFoto, on Broad Street in Murfreesboro.  She enjoyed customer interactions and running a small business.

In her later years, she enjoyed family gatherings, her flower gardens, feeding birds, and trips back to North Carolina to see family.

She is survived by her children John, Jr, of Palo Alto, CA, William (Mindy) of Longboat Key, FL, Mary Weeks (Terry) of Murfreesboro, TN, Martha Corley (Wayne) also of Murfreesboro, Ann Serafin of Davidson, NC, and Nancy Johnson (Dennis) of Murfreesboro.  She is also survived by a brother, James Ballew of Winston-Salem, NC., her grandchildren Matthew Johnson, Rachel Lawrence, Megan Ceccarelli, John Corley, Susan Horton, Robert Serafin, Indie Serafin, Chloe Serafin, and Abbey Serafin, and great grandchildren Peter, Solomon, Eliza, Lilah, and Eloise.  She is also survived by nieces Renee Gentry, Laura Strupe, Allison Ballew Johnson, and Meredith Ballew Bing.

The family would like to thank Mrs. Serafin’s beloved stylist, Ernie Brown, and caregivers Glenna and Robin.

A memorial service will be planned for a later date in her hometown of Nebo, NC.

Memorial gifts may be made to Meals on Wheels or Nebo First United Methodist Church.