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John M. Balen

1923 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
John M. Balen Obituary

February 16, 1923-
September 4, 2016

John M. Balen, beloved coach, teacher, husband, father, grandfather, brother and son, passed away in his adopted hometown of Manhattan Beach, CA on Sunday, September 4, 2016 after a brief illness. John was born in Bisbee, Arizona, on February 16, 1923 to George and Mary Balen, who immigrated to this country from their homeland of Croatia, along with their sons Joe and Mike, and daughter Mary.
The family moved to Southern California in 1928 and John graduated from Fremont High School in Los Angeles, where he participated in football and gymnastics. He would be drafted into the U.S. Army, serving a short stint before heading off to USC where he majored in Physical Education, participated in football and lettered with the gymnastics team, graduating in three years.
John was then hired at San Pedro High School and for the next 30 years, coached gymnastics and football and was a popular teacher. Coach Balen strung together a 73-0 meet record in Marine League Gymnastics from 1950-1960, and helped bring home 12 League Championships in 16 years of coaching. He also coached the Bee football team, and was an Assistant Coach with the Varsity team.
John was an avid body builder, winning competitions at the famed Muscle Beach, California, which led to small roles in movies such as "Ben Hur" and "The Ten Commandments."
At the same time, John attained success in real estate, first in building, then in sales, before settling in as a property owner and manager.
John spent most of the last 50 years living in Manhattan Beach. He was a devoted family man, coaching Little League, attending soccer games, school plays and going to the beach with his kids. He was an avid antique
collector, woodworker and enjoyed pumping iron into his 90s.
A visitation will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City on Thursday, September 15 from11:30AM to 1:30PM, followed by a 2:00PM graveside service.
Cards may be sent to John's family at 535 24th Street, Manhattan Beach CA, 90266
John lives on through his children John, George and Tina Balen, their partners, grandchildren Jakob, Taylor, Lukas and Hayley Balen, ex-wife Britt Balen, nephews and nieces, and all of the students and athletes that he mentored along the way. We love you, dad! Please sign the guestbook at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Sept. 14, 2016
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