James “Jim” Whitfield Balkum (’66)

James “Jim” Whitfield Balkum, 79, of Crockett, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Monday, July 3, 2023. Jim was born on February 18, 1944, in New Gulf, to James and Pearl (Dowden) Balkum. He met and married his wife, Ginny Ann in 1971.

A graduate of the University of Houston, his career in technology and computing ranged from owning his own business to serving at Houston Baptist University. His favorite role was at NASA building the Apollo mission simulator and later in mission control on most of the Apollo missions. While his family still doesn’t know if they believe him, he attributed his ability to completely tune out a conversation to his time in mission control.

Jim was so proud of his daughters and never missed a band competition or school performance. For as proud as he was of his girls, anyone who knows Jim will tell you that nothing surpassed the joy he found in his grandchildren who referred to him as “Grandpa” and as “Ponka.”

Having accepted Jesus at the age of nine, Jim was mature in his faith and committed to regular study of his Bible. He volunteered with Bill Glass Prison Ministries for 15 years and made numerous prison visits, sharing the gospel and his personal faith in Jesus with inmates. Often referred to as a baby whisperer, Jim loved to hold and rock babies and thoroughly enjoyed serving families at church in this way.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Ginny Carlisle Balkum; his parents; and sisters, Betty Saunders and Linda Williams.

He is survived by daughters, Laura Anson and husband, Neil of Carrollton, Sarah Braun and husband, Ryan of Sugar Land; and his beloved grandchildren; granddaughters, Rebekah and Rachel Anson and grandsons, Anson, Owen, and Ethan Braun, and other dear family members.

The family received visitors at Hurley Funeral Home in Pleasanton, on Mon., July 10, 2023, from 1 – 2 p.m. Services followed at 2 p.m. with interment following at Charlotte City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bill Glass Behind the Walls at www.behindthewalls.com/Memorial.

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