John L. Balen
Published in the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald from 10/24/2008
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
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
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.