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BALLEM – John Bishop Q.C., LL.D.

February 2, 1925 – January 9, 2010

John Ballem, beloved husband of Mrs. Grace (Flavelle) Ballem of Calgary, passed away on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at the age of 84 years.

In addition to Grace, his loving wife of 58 years, John is survived by his children, Peter Ballem, Flavelle Ballem (Eileen), Mercedes Ballem (Jacques) and John Ballem (Jacqueline); two grandchildren Alexis and Lliam Ballem. He is also survived by his brother Dr. Miller Ballem.

John was a member of the Crime Writers of Canada, the Probus Club of Calgary and the Air Crew Association of Alberta: Southern Alberta Branch. In 2009, the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association of Alberta awarded John the Distinguished Service Award for Legal Scholarship.

Funeral Services will be held at Christ Church Elbow Park (3602 – 8th Street S.W.) on Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com.

In living memory of John Ballem, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.

Offer Condolence for the family of BALLEM – John Bishop Q.C., LL.D.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Chandie LeClair :

    My condolences to Mr. Ballem’s family.
    The world has lost a great person and a great writer. I will never forget Mr. Ballem and all the stories he shared about life and the history stories about the oil patch in the olden days. I would always stop by his office to pick his brains on the next book he was working on. Great person, great lawyer he will be missed. He was so very humble and an inspiration to all of us who knew him. I feel blessed to have the pleasure of knowing him and working with him. May his soul rest in peace.

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  2. Michael Smith :

    My sincere condolences to John’s family and friends.

    Since my recent move to Calgary I have had the pleasure of meeting John a number of times in the Scotia Center parking garage where we would share our fondnest of vintage Corvettes. John’s orange 427 coupe is a classic … just like John.

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  3. My condolences to the Ballem family. Although I never had the pleasure of working directly with Mr. Ballem, I always saw his smiling face walking along the halls. He is a tremendous inspiration and he will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.

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  4. I knew John as a crime writer, a poet, and a man dedicated to the literary arts in Canada; in these areas, he excelled — as he did in his practice of the law and pretty much everything to which he put his hand. He was a good and kind man and he will be missed by those of us who had the privilege of knowing and working with him. My deepest sympathies to Mrs. Ballem, his daughter and sons, and grandchildren.

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  5. Melody Williams :

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
    Mr. Ballem will be greatly missed. I am honoured to have known him and to have worked with him. May he rest in peace.

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  6. John was a true gentleman as well as a gentle man. Always kind and courteous, it has been my honour to have known him as a member of Crime Writers of Canada. He sincerely will be missed.

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  7. Sydney Martin :

    It would take me a lifetime to write about Mr. Ballem if I were to do it properly. Mr. Ballem’s working room is close to my desk, he would walk by me several times in a day to ask me for help on little things when his secretary wasn’t around. I enjoyed our regular chat every now and then. I remember the day he told me he finally purchased a cell phone in late 2009. I asked him for the no. and he said no, I think he said something like “I don’t want to be found”. Mr. Ballem was proud of his wife, his children and their family, he talked about them often. He also travelled extensively. I recall the time I asked him if he planned on going to the moon and he smiled and said “perhaps … after you have visited the North Pole, there isn’t any place that is unreachable”. We seldom come across a man of such honour, talent and personality. I am fortunate to have known him.

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  8. Gabriele Wehring :

    What a wonderful man to work for. Always a gentleman.

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  9. Beverley Slopen :

    John Ballem had myriad surfaces of his life. I knew his impressive writing career–the novels which were crime thrillers and his sensitive, tender poetry. His travel articles of his recent polar adventures to the North and South Poles had an understated quality that only intensified the experience of reading them. He was accomplished as a pilot, a horseman, and a legal scholar. And he had a wide knowledge of music, art, literature and history. But he always talked as much about his beloved wife Grace and his family. His large spirit and curiosity was life enhancing.

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  10. Stephanie Hatch :

    Mrs Ballem
    I know your life has been changed forever now that your partner of 58 years has been taken from you. I send my condolences to you and the family and want you to know that as always I am here for you. Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.
    Mr Ballem has travelled the world and seen pretty much everything on his list, except Timbuktu. He now should have a birds eye view of that and the rest of the world. Though he can’t be there with you I am sure he is watching over you as always.

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  11. Jeananne Kathol Kirwin :

    On behalf of the Canadian Authors Association – Alberta Branch, we offer our sincere condolences on the loss of your husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, colleague and friend.

    Mr. Ballem was an esteemed member of our writing association and well recognized as a very talented writer. He was also a very generous supporter of the literary arts. He will be missed.

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  12. I was very sorry to hear this news. I worked with John on his mystery novels, and he was one of the kindest, most gracious people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. It’s heartbreaking to learn I’ll never get the chance to work with him again, but his books will have a special place on my shelf. My thoughts and prayers are with Grace and family.

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  13. Arthur A Bishop :

    To:The family of John Bishop Ballam
    My sincere condolences to the family of
    John Bishop Ballem a man I have known
    since we were in Law School at Halifax.
    Our meetings at the Aircrew Association
    on Thursdays were always enjoyable. It was an honour to have known John. I shall
    miss him.
    Sincerely Arthur A Bishop

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  14. Nick and Jane Schultz :

    John stood in a class of his own. His contribution to energy law in particular was tremendous. We will miss him. Please accept our deepest sympathy at your loss.

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  15. Ted Langdon, Thornhill, Ont. :

    I was truly saddened to hear of John’s passing. I had the opportunity of travelling with him in Antarctica and marvelled at his many accomplishments in life. He was a kind,gracious and caring person. My deepest sympathies go to his family and many friends.

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  16. Dr. William Winegard :

    Dear Mercedes

    Sorry to hear about your father. My best wishes as you go through a difficult period.

    Sincerly,
    Dr. Bill

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  17. Margaret Proulx :

    Mr. Ballem was a kind man and a true gentleman. My deepest sympathy to Mrs. Ballem and his family. Sincerely, Margaret Proulx

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  18. Doug MacDonald :

    I was honored to know John as one who was very interested in, and proud of, his Ballem heritage and connections with family in the Maritimes. My prayers are with the family.

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  19. Daiva Jocius, Alberta Theatre Projects :

    To the family of Mr. Ballem our hearts go out to you at this time. Mr. Ballem was a longstanding supporter of Alberta Theatre Projects and the Bob Edwards Award Luncheon. He touched many here and his generosity knew no bounds – he will be greatly missed by all of us. From all your friends at ATP and Vanessa Porteous, Artistic Director of Alberta Theatre Projects as well as the Co-Chairs of the Bob Edwards Award Luncheon, Anne Payne and Verna Mae Gannon.

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  20. Audrey Seehagen :

    On behalf of the Writers Guild of Alberta we offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Ballem.

    John was an active member and supporter of the writing community, and his presence will be missed. His work and his contribution to the literary arts will be well remembered.

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  21. Clement Lanthier :

    On behalf of the Calgary Zoological Society, please accept our sincerest condolences from our board, staff and members (both past and present) on the loss of a tremendous person.

    John was our Chairman, a committed volunteer, a visionary and a doer. We stand on his shoulders today and we have much to be thankful for in having his support and leadership.

    We will miss him greatly, but he will not be forgotten.

    Clement Lanthier
    President & CEO
    The Calgary Zoo

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  22. Andrea Decore :

    Mr. Ballem was a tremendous mentor to me. He taught me the law, but more significantly, he got me excited about the world of oil and gas and started me on the road to a career that I truly love. I suspect that there are many lawyers in Calgary that share those sentiments.

    Just as significantly, Mr. Ballem was an example of how we should all try to live life – with a joie de vivre.

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  23. JOHN C BALLEM :

    I had the pleasure of meeting John for the first time 2 years ago.He was my dad’s first cousin. I was so impressed with him and will always remember the time he gave my son Chris and I that day…as well as the autographed books to take with us.
    He will be missed..Our sincere condolences.

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  24. Charles English :

    I admired John as a personable, polite and knowledgeable man and enjoyed dealing with him as a customer. John always treated my people (Jaguar of Calgary) with the greatest of respect.

    I would be at the event on Thursday but for being in Ottawa for another funeral.

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  25. Dear Grace
    Forty years ago,in 1969,John arranged summer jobs for Peter Ballem and me in Slave Lake. It was a wonderful time for me,in no small part to the kindness you and John exhibited. On our weekends off in Calgary, despite us being doubtlessly disruptive,you welcomed us into your home. You gave us clean beds, washed our work clothes and even wined and dined our friends. I will never forget it. I remember John’s calm, dry sense of humor and his even dryer martinis. He provided us with “wheels” took us to the Petroleum Club and the Zoo and got us Stampede tickets. He was great fun and I know you will miss him.
    Thanks Grace ( forty years later)
    Love Peter

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  26. We wish to offer our condolences on the passing of John. He will be missed.
    Our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Ballem and family.

    Sincerely
    Magaret Brodylo and family

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  27. John Ballem was an extraordinary man. His indefatigable spirit, curiousity about his surroundings and his generousity are an inspiration to us all. I was saddened to learn of John’s passing and feel privileged to have known him. On behalf of everyone at WordFest, our heartfelt sympathies to Mrs. Ballem, his children and his grandchildren.

    Anne Green
    Director, WordFest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival

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  28. You have my sincere condolences.

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  29. Angela Fortier :

    The news came as a great surprise as I had the pleasure of working with John while in Antarctica only a year ago on his trip to the South Pole. Although the time he had with us for his program was short, he was a very kind and gentle man, and it was a pleasure assisting him on one of his many adventures.

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  30. My sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Ballem. I first met John when we was drafting the text of Murder as a Fine Art set and written at the Leighton Studios of The Banff Centre. I later knew him as a frequent guest at Writers Guild of Alberta events and a generous sponsor and contributor to the writing community. He will be sadly missed.

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  31. Loretta M. Bouwmeester :

    John was a man that I had the pleasure of getting to know over the last 14 months. I am Associate that works on the floor above the one his office is on. We would come across each other on the elevator, and sometimes I would stop by his office to speak to him. There is no doubt that he was an accomplished lawyer, writer and member of this community – but he was also a kind man that took the time to share his experiences and insights. I miss him. He was part of what made this Firm special. My sincerest condolences to all John’s family and many friends. He truly was an inspiration and I hope that I have a life as full as the one he embraced and celebrated.

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  32. Paul Wood, Executive Director, Legal Education Society of Alberta :

    John’s contributions to the betterment of the legal profession in Alberta through his work with the Legal Education Society of Alberta, and in particular the bar admission course, were a model for others. Our heartfelt sympathy to his family and all who knew him.

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  33. University of Toronto Press :

    All of us at the University of Toronto Press would like to extend our sympathies to the Ballem family and John’s close friends. We knew him as the author of four editions of THE OIL AND GAS LEASE IN CANADA, a book that has had a lasting impact on resource law and policy throughout the country and the world. He leaves a fine legacy as a scholar and will be missed.

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  34. Janelle Brown :

    I’m terribly sorry for your loss.
    Even in the intense environment of a law firm, Mr. Ballem always took time to say hello and have a conversation as he passed through the halls. His kindness and gentility will be missed.

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  35. Rev. Glen Matheson :

    The congregation of First Presbyterian Church, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, remember fondly the Ballem family and their contribution to our community.
    John was baptized here on Nov. 21, 1928 and a member here from 1940 until transferring his membership to Vancouver in 1954. We appreciate your placing the obituary in the Halifax paper, and extend to you our love and sympathy at this time.

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  36. Robert & Laraine Orthlieb :

    Grace & Family:
    We are thinking of you during this difficult time. John will be missed by so many!
    We always enjoyed the talks with John when he would stop during his many walks through the neighborhood. He was a very special person!
    May the wonderful memories of him fill your heart and bring you peace.

    Bob & Laraine Orthlieb
    Pinebrook

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  37. Arnold MacBurnie :

    I was very sorry to hear of John’s passing.
    In the late 70’s I had the pleasure to work with John on some National Energy Board Hearings and will always remember how he took the time to educate us “young folks” about the process as well as the implications of our work. When I last saw him a year or so ago at Pinebrook, he remained the same gentleman I recalled from some 30 years ago.

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  38. Phillip D Bretzloff :

    John was a man that I was fortunate to have worked with at Ballem McGinnis law firm. He was a pleasure to work with and we had many long conversations and we told each other stories about his past that went on for hours. He especially liked to tell me about his visit from Lord Denning, the world famous Court of Appeal judge from England and meeting the emperor of Ethiopia. Halle Selassie. He was a wonderful man and the Godfather of oil and gas law in Canada. I introduced his book to many foreign oil companies when I was doing oil and gas deals around the world.
    My deepest condolences.
    Phil Bretzloff

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  39. Gary Lancaster :

    John was a remarkable Renaissance man blessed with the talents of ten men. I had the pleasure of watching him argue in court, enjoyed many of his writings (especially the Oil Field Trilogy), learned about Canadian oil and gas law from him, and met many special people from the law firm he founded.

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  40. My sympathy and condolence to you, Grace. Have been a now and then rub shoulders political discussion pair with him since 1960’s. He was immensely proud of you. You were such a great helpmate.
    Nick

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