Traverse City Senior High School Class of 1965
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Steve, teacher, photographer, cook, sailor, mentor, friend, and brother, passed away peacefully at his home in Traverse City on Oct. 21, 2020 at 73 years of age.  He is survived by his long-time companion, Ms. Jan Chapman, of Traverse City; Jan's son, Chris Chrestensen (Dawn Woodruff); and their children, Jan's daughter, Mary Jo McShane (Mike McShane) and their child; his brothers, Lee Ballance (Mary Selkirk) and Bob Ballance (Kathleen Blake); his nieces and nephews; and cousins on the Herkner side.  Steve was primary caregiver for his parents, L. Charles 'Chuck' Ballance and Dr. Mildred Herkner Ballance of Lake Leelanau until their deaths. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ann Ballance.

After growing up in Traverse City, Steve graduated from Michigan State University and later earned a Masters in Fine Arts from Ohio University.  Steve joined the Northwestern Michigan College faculty in 1971 as a part-time instructor of photography.  From 1981 through 2000 he taught Photography and Art Appreciation and served as the Head of the Art Department from 1986-2000.  He also served as Head of the Physical Education Department (1981-1986) and taught sailing to students at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.  His affiliation with the College continued until 2015.  His artwork is owned by numerous private collectors.  He considers his work with his students as his most important accomplishment.

Steve was a member of multiple social circles devoted to sailing, cooking, the creative arts, and basketball.  He helped found and lead the Arts Council in Traverse City.  He also had a regular Sunday evening program on the NMC radio station where he experimented with different ways to present music to listeners.

Steve embraced whatever life offered, from the chance to learn drawing in Paris and annual trips to New Orleans to challenges he faced during the long and difficult decline in his health.  His love of music, reading, and sports, as well as his many lifelong friendships, sustained him.

Steve and his family thank Dr. Shruti Sevak, Dr. Roman Barraza and the Palliative/Hospice team at Munson; the staff at Munson Infusion Center; and his caregivers from Just Like Family for their care during his final months.
At Steve's request, a private memorial service will be held in the spring.  

Recognitions of Steve's contribution to the community should be directed to the Paul & Delphine Welch Art Department Scholarship at Northwestern Michigan College, 1701 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686.
Please share condolences and memories with Steve's family at  

Arrangements are with Martinson Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Leelanau.
Posted By: Administrator - 10-29-2020
Views: 1410

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