Frederick “Jerry” Ballenger
July 18, 1937 ‒ August 12, 2019
Frederick “Jerry” Ballenger, age 82 and longtime resident of Marion, Ohio, passed away on August 12, 2019, surrounded by his family.
Jerry was born on July 18, 1937 in Marion, Ohio the son of John and Irene (Uhl) Ballenger. He attended St. Mary Catholic High School where he excelled in academics (valedictorian) and sports (football, basketball and track). It’s not a surprise that he was elected Senior Class President and how this initial introduction in leadership would have a constant thread throughout his life. Jerry attended Xavier University for a brief year, before transferring to THE Ohio State University where he graduated with honors.
Jerry met the love of his life, Jacquelyn Jean Harris, on a blind date in 1957. They only dated a few months before they married, but their love and devotion to each other has endured for over 62 years. Through the years, they were blessed with 6 children: Carole (James) Kuenzli, Linda (Dan) Pettit, Kevin (Karen) Ballenger, Connie (John) Del Grosso, Eric (Jennifer) Ballenger, and Marla (Kevin) Slane; 12 grandchildren; 8 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren. He traveled with Jackie to several surrounding states, however, this Buckeye’s blood runs through and through and his love for Ohio would keep him here forever.
Jerry was known for his strong work ethic and was considered to be a trustworthy, impartial and an objective Human Resource Director. He was the HR Director at Fairfield Engineering for 26 years and the Labor Relations Officer at North Central Correctional Institute and many times worked additional part-time jobs to support his large family.
Jerry was an active member of St. Mary Church, Rotary Club of Marion, Knights of Columbus Council 671 and was an advisor for Marion’s Junior Achievement. It was Jerry’s interest in politics and desire to make a positive change in the world that he will be most remembered by his hometown of Marion. In the course of twenty years, Jerry was elected to multiple government positions including City Councilman, Civil Service Commissioner, Marion County Commissioner, City Council President and Interim Mayor, in 1987. George F, Scantland III wrote an article about his interim as Marion’s Mayor. “…In Jerry you get a loyal party man and an achiever who understands how to put teams together and turn government back to the people. That’s a rare talent.”
Jerry loved his wife, admired and respected his children and grandchildren. He worked long days, but it didn’t prevent him from getting up early in the morning to exercise. His children have fond memories of him pulling his chest expander and without hesitation, handing it to one of them begging to try it. He knew that they didn’t have the strength to expand it to its fullest potential, so as a team, he would put his hands over theirs and together would stretch it out.
It was in the small, quiet moments that Jerry had the most impact. Jerry was a servant to God and his community, but it was the one-on-one trips to the YMCA, grocery store, or the park with their dad, that remind them of the love he had for his children. In those quiet moments, he and his children would talk about the important things in life and Jerry would always tell them to be and do their best in whatever they did. “Don’t be ordinary be extra-ordinary”. Summer vacations were mostly yearly trips to Mohican State Park, but it was the family trip to Michigan/Canada that his children will always consider to be EXTRA-ordinary (like their father).
Jerry loved to quote his favorite sayings about life to anyone who would listen. “Treat each person like you want to be treated.” “Actions speak louder than words.” And last but not least, “I have no favorites…you are all my favorite.” This almost always elicited the response “Well, you are our favorite, Daddy!
He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him.
Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Jackie; their children and grandchildren; sisters and brothers, Judy (Jim) Everly, Jane (Irwin) Socoloff, Mark (Lynn) Ballenger; sister-in laws, Candi Ballenger and Johanna Drake; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Irene Ballenger, and brothers Bill Ballenger and Jim Ballenger.
Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, August 19, 2019 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 251 North Main St., Marion at 10:30AM with Fr. Kyle Tennant officiating; Inurnment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Friends are welcome to join the family at the Knights of Columbus for a time of lunch and continued celebration of Jerry’s life following the graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or Autism Speaks.
The Snyder Funeral Homes of Marion are honored to be serving the Ballenger family; condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com