In Memory of Janet Frances Lyon Ballinger 1935-2013

Until her retirement in 1990, Janet’s 34 years with PVSD were in many different capacities, teaching at every school in the district from grades K-8, in both the conventional classroom as well as with special programs.  She was a passionate advocate of arts education in the home but particularly also with keeping music education alive and accessible in public schools, and was a talented musician herself. Amongst her years in the regular classroom, she pioneered the PVSD GATE program by securing the original California state grant funding and piloted and launched the MGM classroom program at Dos Caminos in the late 60’s as one of the original teachers. She later contributed to the concept and co-wrote the charter for Los Primeros’ structured program.

Janet Ballinger, Teacher (1964)

Janet died March 26, 2013 at home, accompanied by friends and family. That might not come as surprise to those who knew her, as she was almost always in the company of friends and family; family who became so by virtue of being very dear friends, and friends who became so by being friendly strangers who caught the spirit that flowed so freely from Janet. I will not say she was a gentle soul; she was not. Hers was a bright, vibrant vitality that overran obstacles no matter their nature, and she always found something worth creating, or something already created that could be made better. Those who knew her did so at the risk of having their lives irrevocably changed for the better. She lived life vividly and life returned the favor. She never sat — at least not until her body would allow her to do little else — and she never quit: even at the end, death came as a sort of armistice, with concessions on both sides.

Janet made the world her home and by doing so made her universe a place much improved. She tidied, repaired and reconstructed everything in which she saw need, and always saw a redeeming quality missed by the less observant.  Even when she herself became the needy one, she continued to jump up to help others in whom she saw some ill that she might remedy.  I know that many who knew her will pick up that torch.ture, and she always found something worth creating, or something already created that could be made better. Those who knew her did so at the risk of having their lives irrevocably changed for the better.  She lived life vividly and life returned the favor.  She never sat—at least not until her body would allow her to do little else—and she never quit: even at the end, death came as a sort of armistice, with concessions on both sides.

Janet is survived by her sisters Marilyn Puckett (Moreno Valley, CA) and Beverly Wiseman (Peculiar, MO), daughter and son-in-law Jaimie and Harry Goulding (Camarillo), son Steve Ballinger (Albany, OR), grandsons Ben Ballinger (Newport Beach, CA) and Roland Ballinger (Salt Lake City, UT), granddaughters Shannon Goulding (Adelaide, Australia) and Elaine Ballinger (New York, NY), beloved nieces Carol Bjordahl (Camarillo, CA) and Marcia Puckett (Moreno Valley, CA), and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by Fred Ballinger, her husband of 33 years in 1990, and her twin sister Genevieve Marvin in 1997.

Waking to the aroma of good strong coffee
and the sound of happy humming:
That is what home means to me—
and you were always there,
busily nurturing
I won’t say I never thought about what it would be like
when you were gone
I’m not that kind of fool
But now that infinity has beckoned
Home is still here, somehow.
You taught me how to hum
and brew good strong coffee
and build a happy home inside me
So home is never far away
and neither are you

Colleen Cason: Remembering a mother of note : Ventura County Star – May 11, 2013

Comments

In Memory of Janet Frances Lyon Ballinger 1935-2013 — 3 Comments

  1. Save Our Kids’ Music is honored to have been chosen to celebrate the life of Janet Ballinger, a passionate music and arts educator. Thank you for being instrumental in student success and allowing us to give the gift of music and the arts to future generations of students.

  2. What a beautifully written tribute to Janet. She would be honored to know that her friends were committed to keeping music alive in the schools. Our contributions cannot equal her years of devotion but it’s an incredible gift to her memory.