The Obit For John Balen

John L. Balen

Published in the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald from 10/24/2008 - 10/25/2008

John L. Balen of Waukegan A Mass of the Resurrection for John L. Balen, 85, will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 27,Holy Family Church. 450 Keller Ave., Waukegan, with Rev. Gary Graf celebrant.

Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, Bradley Funeral Home, 313 10th St., North Chicago, and from 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass Monday, at the church.

Born June 14, 1923, in Lincoln, Ill., to John and Rose Balen, he passed away Tuesday, Oct. 21,2008, at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

He was a member of Holy Family Church in Waukegan, the Waukegan Knights of Columbus Council 731, a North Chicago alderman from 1949 to 1951, Foss Park board member from 1948 to 1954, Waukegan alderman from 1995 to present, member of the Waukegan School Board from 1993 to 1995, a Waukegan Township supervisor from 1961 to 1965, member of the Lake County Board of Supervisors from 1961 to 1965 and 1972 to 1990 and Lake County Board chairman from 1974 to 1976.

He was also a member of the St. Bartholomew Senior's Club, past president of US Steelworkers Union and president of the Steelworkers Retiree Club, member of Waukegan North Chicago Seniors Club, volunteer for Waukegan Township Seniors Club, and a member of the Croatian Fraternal Union, Local Chapter.

He enjoyed bowling, golf and baseball. John played minor league baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals after World War II.

He was a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. Mr. Balen moved with his family from Lincoln to North Chicago in 1924. He grew up in North Chicago and graduated from Waukegan Township High School in 1940. He served in the South Pacific and the Philippines during World War II. He was employed by US Steel in Waukegan for 40 years before it closed. He served as president of Local Steelworkers Union 1115.

He began his political career in North Chicago as a member of the Foss Park District Board from 1948 to 1954 and as a member of the North Chicago City Council from 1949 to 1951. He continued his lifetime of public service through the present.

He was a truly devoted and loving husband, father and grandfather. He was an advocate of the "little guy" and believed in the basic goodness of everyone.

He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and associates. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Helen; two daughters; Rochelle (Thomas) Talley of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Cheryl (David) Kelly of Geneva, Ill.; one son, John V. (Norma) Balen of Hillsborough, Calif.; six grandchildren, John. Lauren, Allyson and Elena Kelly, and John A. and Danielle Balen; one brother, Matthew Balen of Wadsworth; one sister, Rosemary Ress of Waukegan; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Steve, Nicholas and Michael Balen; and three sisters, Martha Plier, Mary Slezak and Jane Wright.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312, by phone at 1-800-Diabetes or to Holy Family Church Waukegan. For information, 847-473-3966.