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James Palmer (Jim) Balthazar

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James Palmer (Jim) Balthazar Obituary
James (Jim) Palmer Balthazar passed away on Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 at 73 years of age, following a long battle with heart-related illnesses. He was a long-time resident of the San Antonio area and is survived by his wife of 39 years, Millicent (Milli) Balthazar of Schertz, TX; his son James L. (Jim) Balthazar of Dallas, TX; his brothers Michael J. (Mike) Balthazar of Katy, TX and Joseph L. (Joe) Balthazar of Houston, TX, their wives Pam and Michelle, and their children Kristin, Shawn, Benjamin and Gabrielle. He was born on September 8, 1938 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Joseph and Evelyn Balthazar. In addition to Hawaii, he lived in California, Virginia and Mississippi during his youth. When he turned 18, Jim joined the Army National Guard. After serving for approximately a year and a half, he enlisted in the United States Air Force. He served in the Air Force for over 20 years, and spent several of those years stationed at numerous bases throughout Europe. Jim eventually settled in the San Antonio area and retired from Kelly Air Force Base in 1977. After retiring, he spent his time traveling with his wife, Milli, and pursuing his interests of oil painting, ceramics, stained glass and other artistic endeavors. On January 18, 1995 Jim underwent a heart transplant operation at Brooke Army Medical Center. As the proud recipient of a new heart, and a second chance at life, Jim began donating his time to support the cause of organ donation. He was an active member of Vital Alliance and had held several positions including President, Vice President and most recently serving as Historical Liaison and as a member of the Board of Directors. He was also active as a committee member for the Vital Alliance Tree Planting and Run/Walk committees. Jim previously served on the Board of Directors and as Secretary for the National Kidney Foundation's San Antonio chapter. For many years, he supported and assisted in the local National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games until they were no longer held in San Antonio. In an effort to continue to provide local transplant recipients with similar events he helped organize and create the Lone Star Transplant Games and served on the Board of Directors since its inception. He was an active and long term participant of the Genesis Transplant Support Group at University Hospital. He recently attended and volunteered at several Donate Life Day events educating the public about the importance of organ and tissue donation. He also volunteered for the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance as a speaker in Best Practice classes conducted at several hospitals. In 2008, he was awarded the TOSA's Manuel Soliz Award for his dedication and service as a volunteer. When speaking to people about his transplant, Jim liked to say that he had been given three hearts during his lifetime. His first heart was the one he was born with, his second heart was the one he was given when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Personal Savior in 1973, and his third heart was the one he received during his transplant operation. When he wasn't working to promote organ donation, Jim spent his final years traveling around the country with his wife, Milli. They saw natural wonders and historic sites and visited family and friends from coast to coast. Although he loved to travel, and especially to drive across the country, he always loved coming back to their home in Schertz. He and Milli were active with their Sunday school class at the First Baptist Church of Universal City. Jim delighted in his family and his many friends both in Texas and throughout the country, and he truly "never met a stranger".
Visitation will be at the Schertz Funeral Home from 4:00 to 8:00 PM on Sunday, May 20th. Services will be held at the First Baptist Church of Universal City on Pat Booker Road at 1:00 PM on Monday, May 21st. Interment will be at Fort Sam Houston at 9:00 AM on Thursday, May 24th.

Published in Express-News on May 20, 2012
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