Mike John Balen, the beloved grandfather to Brandon John Balen, Adam Michael Balen, and Damon Marko Balen, brother Florence Balen Felchner, daughter-in-law Christina Balen and granddaughter Jenna Bishop. He was welcomed into heaven on Friday, January 31, 2014 from his home in Mandeville, LA by his beautiful loving wife Marta Alverez Balen, only son Marko John Balen, his parents Anna Parcavich Balen and Marko Balen, two sisters Mary Leone, Katherine Yakos and brother George Balen.
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He lived a full and prosperous life and touched the lives of many. He was born on September 22, 1923 in Sawyerville, Il. As a boy growing up on a farm he played football, was on the track team and boxed . He won the State of Illinois Golden Gloves Boxing Championship and held a shot put record at Benield High School until the 1960's. At the age of 15 sports was his ticket away from the coal mines of Illinois. He received an athletic scholarship in football and track to Tulane University. While in college, at the age of 16, the attack on Pearl Harbor took place. He immediately enlisted in the Marine Corps and participated in the invasion of the Japanese islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Okinawa. When the war ended he returned to Tulane to continue his education pick up where he left off with football and track. During that time, he was named Mr. New Orleans in the sport of body building. He met and married the love of his life, Marta Alverez and they moved from the south shore to Lacombe, LA where he built their first house. He later built a house on Bayou Castine in Mandeville, LA where he lived the remainder of his life. Mike served as the head football and track coach at St. Paul's School in Covington, LA from 1956 to 1962. He was revered and loved by his players. In 2011, he was named to the St. Paul's Athletic Hall of Fame. Upon leaving St. Paul's, he worked at Michoud and attended night school at Loyola Law School in New Orleans. Upon graduating from Loyola, he practiced law in Covington, LA until his retirement. He was known for his love of the outdoors as an avid hunter and fisherman but most of all as a motorcyclist. He and Marta ( who rode on the back ) traveled all over the country including 7 different trips through Alaska. They also traveled across Europe and into Croatia. He spoiled his son as well as his grandsons and loved them dearly. He was very strong with old school morals and simply a "one of a kind" man. Saying he will be missed is an understatement. A celebration of life will be held at 10:30AM on Saturday, February 15, 2014 from Our Lady of Peace Chapel on the campus of St. Paul's School, 917 S. Jahncke St. Covington, LA 70433. Visiting hours at the Chapel will begin Saturday at 9:30AM. There will be a reception in St. Paul's cafeteria immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul's School (Mike Balen Family) at the address above. To sign the family guestbook and offer condolences online visit www.ejfieldingfh.com.
E. J. Fielding Funeral Home - Covington
2260 West 21st Avenue Covington, LA 70433
Published in TheNewOrleansAdvocate.com from Feb. 9 to Feb. 14, 2014