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Justice Jay R. Ballantyne Retired

1926 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Justice Jay R. Ballantyne Retired Obituary

Visalia - Jay Rainey Ballantyne was born on May 4, 1926 in Cumberland, Lincoln County, Wyoming. He was the son of Joseph Burton and Ethel Lucille Rainey Ballantyne.

He grew up in Los Angeles and attended elementary school at Hyde Park & 59 Street., Horace Mann Junior High School and George Washington High School.

Jay enlisted in the United States Navy in February of 1944. He was honorably discharged October 1945 as a Naval Aviation Cadet but later served in the Naval Reserves from 1952 - 56.

He attended Occidental College and graduated from the University of Southern California in 1948. He graduated from Southwestern Law School in 1951 and was admitted to the California State Bar in January 1952.

Jay was a gifted athlete and earned letters in football, wrestling, diving and gymnastics in high school and college. He was an All-City Champion Gymnast for 3 consecutive years. Throughout his life, he was ready for a game of tennis, golf, basketball, or beach volleyball. Jay was well known for his organization and participation in many sporting leagues in Visalia during the 1950's and 60's.

He was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, and hiking in the High Sierras. His "mountain expeditions" are remembered by many of his friends in Southern California, local and judicial circles. Jay was a member of the Visalia Country Club and enjoyed golf his whole life. From the time he was a young boy, Jay loved to dance. He was a life time member of the Visalia Dance Club. He is known at both the Visalia and Los Angeles Country Clubs as the "Dancing Judge".

Jay married the love of this life, Elaine Dahle, on January 12, 1952 in Inglewood, California. In March, the newlyweds left the Los Angeles area and moved to Visalia where Jay joined the Tulare County District Attorney's office as a Deputy. In 1954, he entered a partnership with Russell McKinney Sr., forming a general law practice known as McKinney and Ballantyne.

In June of 1958, Jay was elected Tulare County District Attorney. He was 32 years old and the youngest DA in the State. In 1962, he was elected President of the California Association of District Attorneys and County Counsels.

At the age of 40, Jay was elected to serve as a Superior Court Judge in Tulare County. At that time there were only 3 judges in the county. Again, he had the distinction of being the youngest elected judge in the state.

In 1971, Jay was elected Vice-President of the California Judges Association and was later elected as President of the International Trial Judges Association.

After 20 years on the Tulare County Superior Court Bench, Governor George Deukmejian appointed him to the California Court of Appeals Fifth District as Associate Justice in 1986. Jay was only the second justice ever appointed to the Court of Appeals from Tulare County.

After retirement from the Court of Appeals, Jay sat ProTem for Superior and Appellate courts throughout the State. He also worked with Judicial Arbitration Mediation Services (JAMS) and traveled throughout the state until 2005.

Jay was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the early 1960's, Jay and his Bishop met with friends of Jay's to negotiate the purchase of land for the construction of the first property owned by the church in Visalia.

He was active on the local Boy Scout and YMCA boards. Jay was a member of the American Legion and served as the Lions Club President in 1961. One of his greatest joys was meeting with his "Coffee group" every morning, for over 60 years, to solve the problems of the world and to "play the game".

Jay loved to explore the world and traveled extensively. He was a voracious reader and loved history. His mantra was "Have a little fun every day."

Jay was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Wilmer, Lloyd, and Burt; sister Marie Hatley, and his first wife, Elaine.

Jay is survived by his sister Liz Huntoon and his second wife, Jan. In addition, he leaves 4 daughters - Kristine Ballantyne, Stacy Ballantyne Baker (Greg), Robin Young (Andre) and Cheri Lemons (Doug). He also leaves 13 grandchildren - Jay Michael Shaw (Teresa), Cortney Dahna (Wayne), Austin Ewell (Nanda), Brice Ewell (Jessica), Jessica Jackson (Robert), Grant Young (Lauren), Ellery Srofe (Kenny), Parker Young, Chase Young, Clayton Smith, Clark Lemons, Adam Lemons, and Kyle Lemons. In addition, he leaves 8 great grandchildren - Taylor Shaw, Sydnee Shaw, Calicia Dahna, Chloe Dahna, Dempsey Dahna, Katyn Ewell, Madelyn Ewell and Kate Jackson and numerous nieces and nephews.

Graveside services will be held on Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 9 a.m. at Visalia Public Cemetery, 1300 W. Goshen Avenue in Visalia, CA. Church services will follow at 10 a.m. at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 650 North Lovers Lane, Visalia, CA.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Visalia Lions Club in Jay's honor.

Tributes and condolences may be made at

Arrangements entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA (559) 732-8371.
Published in Visalia Times-Delta & Tulare Advance-Register on June 27, 2018
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