American Veteran 01


John Raymond Balok

May 5, 1927 ~ June 6, 2018 (age 91)

    John Raymond Balok, 91, passed away Wednesday evening, June 6th, at his home while surrounded by family.  Born May 5, 1927 to Stephen and Nellie (Zupke) Balok, he was the third of five boys; Larry (wife Betty), Chet (wife Evie), Gene, and George (wife Nancy). A lifetime resident of South Bend, John attended John Adams High School and along with his brother Gene became known for their success on the football field. John also became an avid outdoorsman, an excellent marksman, hunter, fisherman, and a 300 Club bowler. Drafted out of high school, John served in both WWII and the Korean War where he received an honorable discharge with the final rank of Master Sargent.  

     On April 2, 1949, after a two-year courtship that began with a blind date, John was united in marriage to Joan Snyder - daughter of Emmett and Laura Pearl (Hartman) Snyder - at St. Peter’s Evangelical United Church of Christ. Together they raised five children: Cheryl Wolf (who preceded him in death), Peggy Wechter of South Bend, Laura (John) Minardi of Highlands Ranch, CO, James (Denise) of Allen, TX, and Janet (Michael) Trent of Murray, KY; nine grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. John and Joan celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary this past April. 

     A graduate of Acme Tool and Die School, John became locally recognized as a master craftsman in the tool and die industry for over 67 years before retiring at the age of 81.

     John is survived by his loving wife, Joan, devoted family, and brothers Chet and George.

     Service will be held Friday, June 15, 2018 at Palmer Funeral Home-Guisinger Chapel, 3718 S. Michigan St., South Bend. Pastor Bob Vale is officiating. Family may visit beginning at 11:00 a.m. Friends may visit with the family from noon to 1:00 p.m. prior to the service with burial at Southlawn Cemetery following. Online condolences to the family may be made at

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