John Balyo, a former president of Corban College, died Saturday afternoon at a care center in Salem, Oregon. He was with his wife, Betty, and son Mike.
Balyo, 89, served as the college’s president from 1983 to 1991, according to the school’s Web site. He and Betty were both active in college life, and Baylo served as chancellor and then president emeritus until his death.
Before coming to what was then called Western Baptist College, Balyo studied law. He graduated from Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind.
He was pastor of two churches in Indiana and one in Ohio before he began teaching at two sister-schools of Western Baptist College.
A memorial service for Balyo will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Salem.
John G. Balyo, 89, departed to be with his Lord on Saturday, April 18, 2009. He was born on January 18, 1920 in Greenville, S.C., the son of John and Etta (Groce) Balyo. He grew up in Greenville and, as a young boy, sang in the Rotary Boy Choristers, a well-known group of 50 voices, who charmed their audiences in their white trousers and blue coats. John often said the music they sang gave him an appreciation for Christian anthems and classical music.
In high school, he was on debating teams, which was good training for a dream of attending law school. John graduated from Atlanta Law School in 1940. At that point in life, he answered the call to the Christian ministry, and went north to get his education at Valparaiso University, Goshen College, and Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana, where he received his MDiv degree.
After seminary, he met Betty Lindstrand, and they were married in 1945. They served a small church in Elkhart, Indiana, and later a growing church in Kokomo, Indiana. In 1953, John became the minister of Cedar Hill Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where they remained for 19 years. During his time in Cleveland, he began an extensive Bible conference and radio ministry, in addition to pastoral duties for a congregation of about 800.
In 1972, John was invited to join the faculty of Grand Rapids Baptist College, now Cornerstone University. For a short period, he served as pastor of Suncoast Baptist Church in New Port Richey, Florida, until he was invited to join the faculty at Baptist Bible College & School of Theology in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
In 1983, instead of retiring, John accepted the challenge to come west as the fifth president of Western Baptist College, now Corban College. This union lasted for 25 years, as John became Chancellor in 1991 and President emeritus in 2004. He was recently honored to have the newest resident hall on campus named “John G. Balyo Hall.”
John served for many years on the Board of Baptist Mid-Missions in Cleveland, Ohio. He possessed a life-long interest in missions and he traveled to mission fields in Africa, Europe, South America, and Korea. In addition, he conducted five tours to Israel, Egypt, and Turkey. Finally, John was an avid Cleveland Browns football fan and a supporter of the Peanuts comic strip, using many true-to-life quotes in sermon illustrations.
John was known for his articulate speaking style and for compassion toward young men preparing for the ministry. He loved working with the younger generation, which kept him going.
John is survived by his wife, Betty; a son, Michael; grandsons, John, of Grand Rapids, Mich. and James, of Flint, Mich.; a brother, Clyde (wife, Elsie) of Miamisburg, Ohio; sister-in-law, Kate of Atlanta, Ga.; and several nieces and nephews. A son, James, preceded him in death, as well as sisters, Lucille and Claire, and a brother, William.
A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 25 at First Baptist Church, 395 Marion St. NE, Salem. In lieu of flowers, a Balyo Scholarship Fund has been established at Corban College, 5000 Deer Park Dr., Salem, OR 97317-9392. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.