In Memoriam of David Ballinger
ANGOLA — Well-known businessman, community leader, Kappa Sigma Brother, Trine University Hall of Fame athlete and radio sportscaster David Ballinger has died. He was 67.
Brother Ballinger died Monday morning after having spent much of his final hours with his fellow sportscasting partner and close friend, Bill Stockberger, who had gone to the Ballinger home early Monday with his wife, Michelle, to be with him and his wife, Ellen, the Stockbergers said.
Brother Ballinger, a founding member of the Steuben County Community Foundation, lost a battle with stomach cancer he had fought some two years.
“Steuben County and Angola lost a tremendous guy. He did so much. Most people don’t know what he’s done,” Bill Stockberger said Monday afternoon. “He was a friend who would do anything for anyone.”
While he was known as a high school sports broadcaster, his impact in the community was with philanthropic efforts and his association with Tri-State, now Trine University.
“He loved Tri-State and he loved this community,” Stockberger said.
Brother Ballinger came to Angola from Anderson to study and play sports at Tri-State College, where he was a member of the Trojan basketball and baseball teams and a brother of Theta-Xi of Kappa Sigma. In 1985, he was among the first class of inductees to the Tri-State University Hall of Fame, now Trine University Hall of Fame, and as a dual-sport athlete.
“Most people never knew he played baseball. He was probably a better baseball player than he was a basketball player,” Stockberger said. At one point in his career, he led the nation in batting in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Upon graduation from Tri-State in 1970 he went to work as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. He then entered the banking industry, first at Angola State Bank, which became part of the Lincoln Financial Corp. bank and eventually Wells Fargo. Mr. Ballinger worked for Tri-State University in development starting in the early 1990s before leaving in 2002 and landing once again at Wells Fargo. After Farmers State Bank acquired The First National Bank of Fremont in late 2004, Mr. Ballinger was hired as one of the company’s vice presidents. He retired from Farmers State in December 2013.
Brother Ballinger was known for his part-time sportscasting prowess. He could be heard with Stockberger calling basketball and football games for Lake Cities Broadcasting stations, which later became Swick Broadcasting. Mr. Ballinger spent more than 35 years on the sports desk, calling some 700 basketball games and 350 football games.
He was honored with Dave Ballinger Night at the Angola-Prairie Heights boys’ and girls’ basketball doubleheader last Saturday at Angola High School. The event had been planned, complete with mayoral proclamation, for Jan. 16 but the game was postponed due to weather.
Stockberger pointed out that it was Ballinger who first pushed for broadcasts of girls’ basketball. The games were first covered at radio station WEAX 88.3, the college radio station, before Lake Cities was convinced they could be a commercial success.
“Dave is the father of girls’ basketball on radio,” Stockberger said.
Beyond sports, Dave was well-known for his work in the community in philanthropic endeavors. He was a founding board member of the Steuben County Community Foundation and volunteered for countless other organizations in the community, many behind the scenes.
“Dave Ballinger was the very first person to understand the concept of the Steuben County Community Foundation. In 1990 he took the time to understand what a community foundation was and what it could do for Steuben County. He then convened people throughout the county to educate them on why our community needed a foundation, and started SCCF. He served as the founding board president from 1991 through 1998 and remained on the board through 2003. Thousands of people in Steuben County are impacted by SCCF’s work every year — all of which can be traced back to Dave’s persistence in getting SCCF rooted in this community. SCCF will forever be indebted to Dave’s vision, passion and dedication to our organization,” said Jennifer Danic, SCCF executive director.
In a conversation recorded last year by fellow Farmers State employee Sherry Holiday, Ballinger said, “Next to my family and career, being associated with starting the Steuben County Community Foundation is something I’m most proud of.”
Dave said he thought the presence of the Foundation has made Steuben County a more giving community, and not just to the Foundation.
Stockberger said those feelings were reflected in the fact that Mr. Ballinger could find good in everyone.
“I lost a good friend. I know it was going to happen, but he’s at peace. That’s a good thing,” Stockberger said.
Brother David Ballinger is survived by his wife, Ellen, his daughter, Jessica Ballinger, two grandsons, Cooper and Tucker, and a sister, Anita.