Mr. James Ballor, 69, of Alliance, beloved husband, brother, uncle, nephew, friend, and educator, passed away on March 27, 2022, after a valiant battle with cancer.
James was born on July 2, 1952, in Mt. Clemens, MI, to Raymond J. and Patricia A. (Erskine) Ballor. He attended Lake Superior State College and graduated from Youngstown State University. He taught at Alliance High School for over 30 years until his retirement in 2010. In his career at AHS, students selected him more than a dozen times as their Honored Educator and named him the Teacher of the Year. He also led the AHS Academic Challenge Team for many years among other extra-curricular activities.
Jim, also known to many friends as Curly, was the quintessential Renaissance Man with wide-ranging knowledge and talents admired by all who knew him inside or outside a classroom.
One of his good friends wrote the following about him: “Jim participated for many years in the anxiety, fear, and exhilaration of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain made famous by one of his favorite authors Ernest Hemingway. He met and made friends there from all over the world and brought family and friends to share in the unique experience of the Fiesta of San Fermin. For many people, Jim (Curly) Ballor and Pamplona were always in the same thought and breath.
Music gave Jim a special pleasure. He was well-known for his extensive music collection and as the go-to person for music questions. He would record songs for all occasions be it a birthday, Christmas and much else. Jim especially enjoyed the music from the 1960s which he celebrated every year with a gathering attended by folks from home and abroad. His recordings of the ‘60s parties were looked forward to by those that attended like a kid at Christmas.
Jim’s highest and greatest joy was his wife, Christy. Her love and influence on him were a light that shined in their lives together. His unconditional love, loyalty, and respect for Christy gifted him tremendous value and strength from her. Love is a word that can be hard to define but was vividly seen in their marriage.
In addition to beloved friends here at home and in Spain, Curly also had very dear friends in England, where he spent summers playing in an “Old Timers” baseball league. Back home, he loved all things Michigan, especially the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, the Wolverines and Spartans. He even married a Michigan fan.
James relished literature, film, and theatre. He was very active on stage at Carnation City Players in many roles, but his favorite and the one best remembered was a yearly stint as Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” He and Christy first met when they were both cast in “Noises Off” at CCP. Another love they shared was for animals. Their home and hearts were open to numerous strays and rescues as well as Jim’s macaw, Deadline.
Mr. Ballor was especially admired in his classroom by students who have remembered him with great respect and affection over the years. One of his former students recently commented, “Very many people from so many years know how lucky we have been (to have had Mr. Ballor as our teacher). Speaking for myself as a representative of hundreds or thousands – he was perhaps the most influential adult in my life, inclusive of my own parents. The books I read, the words I use, the places I go and dream to go, the rigor of what I expect and the kindness I aspire to have – his marks are all over all of those and more.”
Just as his friends and students were priorities in his life, Jim was devoted to his family and rarely missed a family event or celebration, no matter the distance. And the adoration was mutual among four generations as everyone always looked forward to his visits.
Family left to cherish his memory are his wife, Christine A. (Thomas) Ballor, whom he married on June 17, 2000; his siblings, Theresa (Robert) Polakovich of Grand Rapids, MI, Barbara (David) Coy of Ravenna, OH, John (Angela) Ballor of Mt. Clemens, MI, Richard (Lee) Ballor of Okemos, MI; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Mary Beth Ballor, and Christine E. Ballor.
God gives every person their own unique song through the love they give, the lives they touch, and the memories they leave behind. Jim’s song will echo through time; we are grateful he shared it with us.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 pm on Friday, April 22nd at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home.
A Memorial Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23rd at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Alliance with Rev. G. David Weikart officiating. For those unable to attend, the Mass will be available for viewing online.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Academic Recognition Committee c/o Alliance City School District, 200 Glamorgan St., Alliance, OH 44601.
Arrangements are entrusted to Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home, 75 South Union Ave Alliance, Ohio 44601.