Stanley Balbach Sr.
Memorial services and reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, at the Windsor of Savoy. Jean Nanney will officiate. Renner-Wikoff Chapel, 1900 S. Philo Road, Urbana, is in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Balbach was born Dec. 26, 1919, in Normal, the son of Nyle Jacob and Gertrude (Cory) Balbach. He married Sarah T. Witherspoon on May 22, 1944, in Jonesboro, Ark., and she survives.
He is also survived by a son, Byron Balbach (Jeanne) of Urbana; daughters, Nancy Fehr (Tom) of St. George, Utah, Barbara Balbach-Haines (Jack) of Champaign and Edith Balbach of Palm Springs, Calif.; six grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren, seven step-great-grandchildren and one step-great-great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by a son, Jacob.
Mr. Balbach attended schools in Kankakee, Urbana, Champaign, Evanston and Chicago and graduated from Chenoa High School in 1936. He attended the University of Illinois as an undergraduate, receiving his undergraduate degree in 1940 and was a member of Army ROTC and the Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity. He continued his studies at the University of Illinois, achieving his law degree in 1942.
Upon passing the bar, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, serving in the Horse Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, and Army Air Corps and ultimately became a captain, teaching flying in multiple venues during World War II. After the war ended, he moved to Hoopeston, where he practiced law for nearly two years before joining Judge Charles Webber in partnership in Urbana in 1948. This partnership spanned 30 years, at which time he joined with his son, S. Byron Balbach Jr. and son-in-law, E. Thomas Fehr, for a practice that continued for almost 32 years in Urbana.
Mr. Balbach was involved in bar association work on a local, state and national level. He served as an Illinois delegate to the American Bar Association (ABA) Junior Bar Conference and served as the chairman of the Junior Bar Conference of the ABA. He also served in the ABA House of Delegates. His bar association work has included the executive committee of the American Judicature Society, chairman of the Real Estate Practice Committee of the Senior Lawyers Division of the ABA and chairman of the Standing Committee on Lawyers Title Guaranty Funds of the ABA. In the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) he has served as vice-chair of the Section on Commercial and Bankruptcy Law and as secretary of the Committee on Bar Economics as well as a member of the Elder Law Section Council.
Mr. Balbach has been widely recognized for his instrumental role in starting Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund Inc. The Fund facilitates the issuance of title insurance by lawyers in Illinois, providing people purchasing real estate with both a lawyer's advice and insured title to their property. Starting The Fund required that its early visionaries obtain the necessary approvals from the relevant bar associations and the Illinois insurance and securities regulators. Although The Fund began in Illinois, it also now operates in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and has 2,000 members with annual revenues of 30 million including six successful subsidiary companies. He served on the Fund's board of directors from 1964 to 2004 and received its 40th Anniversary Founder's award.
In addition to his bar association activities, he has given back to his community in promoting local real estate developments, aiding the aging community and encouraging improvements in local air, rail and bus transportation through over 30 years of service as co-chair of the Transportation Committee of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. For his work with the Transportation Committee, he was issued his own personal honorary bus stop.
He has written numerous articles for publication and received the Board of Governor's Award from the ISBA in 1994, the annual Tradition of Excellence Award from the ISBA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section in 2000, the Community Service Award of the Urbana Exchange Club in 2000 and the Arthur H. Larson Leadership Award of the East Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging in 1999.
Other recognized accomplishments include Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, member of the Urbana Rotary Club and Urbana American Legion Post 71, Life Member of the Urbana Masonic Lodge No. 157, 2006 Pillar of the Champaign County Bar as designated by the Illinois Bar Foundation, ISBA Senior Counsellor in 1992, and ISBA Academy of Illinois Lawyers Laureate in 2002.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation or the Urbana Park District. Condolences may be offered at www.renner-wikoffchapel.com.