ALLEN HORACE BALCH
Capt. Allen H Balch, U.S. Navy (Ret), passed away May 5, 2015 in Green Valley, AZ. Al was born in Abilene, Texas on March 10, 1927, the son of Amos Henry and Barbara Allen Stone Balch. The family later moved to Tyler, Texas where he and his sister, Ruby Virginia “Sunshine” Smith, grew up.
Known for his wonderful speaking voice, Al gained his first radio experience at age 16 in Tyler, where before school he opened KGKB, a 250-watt radio station, broadcast the morning and evening drive and music, and closed the station. On weekends he was announcer for his high school sporting events and football games.
Al was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1945 and graduated with distinction in June 1949. He married his first wife, Jean Roach, in June 1949, before reporting to NAS Pensacola for flight training. He completed training in multi-engine aircraft, earning his wings at NAS Corpus Christi, TX and was ordered to VP-4 and flew P-2V NEPTUNE aircraft during the Korean War. Al served during three deployments, rising from navigator to PPC, earning the China Service medal. During the Vietnam conflict, Al served as commander of a P3-A ORION squadron, earning the Vietnam Campaign Medal and an Air Medal. Duty afloat included service aboard the aircraft carrier USS INTREPID. Other awards included World War II Victory Medal, the Naval Unit Commendation, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Ribbon – Cuba.
Duty ashore included General Line School in Monterey, CA, Army War College in Carlisle, PA, and 5 years in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal and a Legion of Merit. Al retired from the Navy in 1973.
Working for KRLD in Dallas, he interviewed Sen. John Tower (R) from Texas, who invited him to return to Washington, D.C., as his communications and press secretary. Allen accepted the position, and while there married his second wife, Lindsay.
Following his political days, Allen avoided the beltway rush by living aboard a 55-foot houseboat in the Washington Marina, just below the Jefferson Memorial, and he became a full-time anchor on WTOP, a CBS affiliate station in the Washington area, for 6 years. During this time O’Connor Productions was producing the syndicated pre-presidential Reagan spots, and approached Allen about creating and syndicating a series of interviews to be entitled “The Senators,” as he was becoming a “voice on the hill,” respected for his professional handling of important issues of the day.
In 1992 he and Lindsay discovered Green Valley, AZ, and built their dream home. He became active in the Green Valley Coordinating Council, tried to incorporate Green Valley several times, and then joined the Ross Perot bid for the Presidency, which took him back to Dallas for a time.
His third career began in 2005 when his health began to fail, and he and Lindsay joined a great new life at La Posada. He not only emceed “The Allen Balch Show” for 6 years, but he also joined the La Posada Singers, became their manager, and discovered his beautiful solo bass voice. You can find him on Facebook, if you are so inclined.
He is survived by his five children from his first marriage: Paulanne Balch, MD of Boulder, CO, Deborah LaCivita of Greenwich, CT, Patricia Tracy of Manassas, VA, Allen (Skip) Balch of Austin, TX, and Karen Sue Pittman, of Ruston, LA, and Lindsay’s two sons George R. Miller of Los Gatos, CA and Col. Randolph P. Miller USAF (Ret) of Washington, D.C., plus 13 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, and his sister, Ruby Virginia Smith, of Dalhart, TX.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Green Valley Mortuary. A Memorial Celebration of his Life will be held at La Posada on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. A burial service with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warriors.
Published in Green Valley News & Sun on May 31, 2015
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