Arminta “Ment” Lilly Ballance, 86, of New Bern, formerly of Carteret County, passed away Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at her home, while surrounded by her daughters, after a long and courageous battle with dementia and diabetes.

Her service is at 1 p.m. Thursday at Reece’s Chapel Baptist Church in Mill Creek, officiated by the Rev. James “Winkie” Chadwick. Burial will follow in the Lilly family cemetery.

Ment was born July 19, 1933, in Mill Creek and was married to Haywood Walter “Wally” Ballance, the love of her life, for 37 years.

Ment was a strong-willed woman. She wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. She was a woman on the go who did not want to allow one moment of life to pass her by without her being in the middle of it. She was proud to be a fire and rescue volunteer for many years. She loved the Lord, Wally Ballance, her family, singing and Mill Creek. She was affectionately known as the “mayor” of Mill Creek.

Until her health made it impossible, Ment was always involved in her church, Reece’s Chapel in Mill Creek. She was a gifted singer and loved to sing gospel and country music. She had a beautiful, rich alto voice that she used to share her love for the Lord.

Special thanks are given to her dear friend, Dan Moreau, her caregivers and Craven County Hospice.

She was a fierce Mama Bear to her own children and others she “collected” along her journey. She is survived by her daughters, Cecilia Boyette, Darlene and husband Rich Haney, Doreen and husband Nathan Oglesby, Tammy and husband Jim Pasela, Debbie “Wanda” Ballance, Crystal King and Peggy Ferretti; son, Lawrence “Smokie” Borman; and two grandsons she and Wally raised, Patrick Nelson and Jackie Ballance. She also has 18 other grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. She is survived by her sister, Margaret Dixon; and a brother, Sam and wife Suzanne Lilly.    

Ment was proceeded in death by her parents, Dolly and Cyrus Lilly; her husband, Wally; her son, Carl Ballance; her sisters, Violet “Penny” Fleming and Carrie Joy “Coot” Graham Wallace; and her brothers, C.T., Eugene, Levy and Rueben.

The family will receive friends at the church the hour prior to the service. Family and friends will gather at the home of Nathan and Doreen Oglesby at 2397 Mill Creek Road, Newport.

Flowers are welcome, and memorials may be made to Mill Creek Fire Department or Craven County Hospice.

Arrangements are by Noe Funeral Service Inc. of Beaufort. Condolences and life tributes may be sent to the family at

(Paid obituary)

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