Friends of Damien:
It is with a great sense of loss that we share the sudden death of a Damien Spartan treasure, Mr. Chuck Ballingall. Chuck has served Damien for over 35 years, initially as head of the Debate Program. He has taught many Social Studies classes, most recently AP Economics and AP Human Geography. Blessed with a great “announcer’s voice” Chuck has served as the “Voice of the Spartans” in the basketball and baseball programs over many years as well.
In his administrative roles, he has served as Curriculum Director and his recent summers have been given in building the school’s Master Schedule of classes. Ironically, he commented that this year’s challenge and results are his “best master schedule ever!” with the challenge of placing 940 students into classes that use every classroom each period of the day.
We will miss his humor, his love of statistics and ability to mine data to help our Curriculum leaders understand underlying patterns of our program, and especially his leadership that places the learning needs of our students first.
If you would like to leave your thoughts about Chuck and his impact on your life, please leave a message below.
On Tuesday, August 15th at 12:30 pm in the Damien Athletic Center we will offer our student body’s Opening School Mass as a memorial for Chuck and his family and friends. All are invited. Please be aware that parking may be at a premium as the school day will not conclude until 2:00 pm.
18 thoughts on “”
For years I had the great honor of knowing Chuck through basketball officiating. One of the things I looked forward to most in every single game was walking out on to the floor and seeing Chuck sitting at the scorers table. He always,and I mean always had a warm smile and greeting.
Chuck was everything right about youth sports,and setting examples.
Coach, I speak for many when I say you believed in me and gave me a chance in life when no one else would. Growing up as a minority, raised by a single mother in a low income family, I was supposed to be a statistic. You opened the world to me, gave me the tools, opened the doors, and taught me the power of my voice and gave me confidence in my ability to change the world. Now, as a successful adult with a great career, I owe so much of who I am to you, your passion, your dedication, your love. I can only hope your family knows it’s an understatement to say you changed the world. Changed. The. World. You touch the lives of so so so many, and left the world a better place than you found it, a magnanimous inspiration to all those you touched. You will always be honored as one of the greats. Until we meet again old friend, all my love, all my respect, all my gratitude. Ya dun good kid. Godspeed.
Mr. Ballingall was a great teacher, a great debate coach, and a great mentor. Because of Mr. Ballingall’s influence, our two sons went on to major in Social Studies at college, to debate at College, and then to teach debate after they graduated. Teaching was his true vocation and his true passion. We will be eternally grateful to Damien High School in general and to Mr. Ballingall in particular. Requiescat in pace.
As all the students called you. Thank you!
Gone too soon. Rest In Peace, sir.
I will never forget the amazing times inside and out of class I had with you. You made learning so much fun and you were my biggest fan. You announced every home basketball game that I played in and always lifted me up each time I would sub into the game. Going out to dinner and always taking time out of your day to talk and catch up were times I truly cherished. Thank you for being my friend Mr. B. Rest In Peace.
As a Damien debater many years ago I had the pleasure of debating Chuck when he was a student at Fountain Grove High. Because debate made such a difference in my life, I volunteered to start a team in Northern California nearly 30 years later and quickly learned that Chuck not only represented my alma mater but had also become a debate coaching legend. The leadership he brought to the California High School Speech Association and the National Speech and Debate Association influenced a generation of coaches and helped pass along the gift of debate to thousands of students. As an active member of the coaching community, I can tell you the shock of this loss is felt well beyond the Damien family. My social media feeds are packed with heartfelt tributes from coaches & students he mentored across the country. His shoes can never be filled, but the legacy of his work will live on & the memory of a kind man who devoted his adult life to a noble cause will not be forgotten. It’s so hard to make sense of a loss like this. All I can figure is that God needed a great coach and inspiring leader in Heaven. RIP Coach Ballingall.
I knew Chuck in my capacity as coordinator of Damien’s online program. We interacted frequently and exchanged many inside stories of dealing with the UC system and its vagaries! At all times he was unfailingly gracious and welcoming. In these past 4 years we forged a bond between two people with over 90 years in education between us. I believe that for Chuck the great promise of scripture is fulfilled “Those who instruct others unto justice shall shine like stars for all eternity”! In the words of my native Gaelic tongue: “Ar dheis De go raibh a anam” (May his soul be at the right hand of God).
I am still in shock at the loss of my lifelong friend Chuck Ballingall. I had known Chuck in the early 80s when we debated against each other in college. He got me hired in 1985 as a teacher at Damien when I was in need of a job and what followed were 7 often tough but magical years as part of the Damien community. Chuck was in the center of my experience as we were neighbors in the 100 building basement and shared countless dinners [often with Jeff Coray and Sam Pearsall], trips, and debate tournaments. When I left in 1992, he continued on for another 25 years, immersing himself with joy into all aspects of his life at Damien–teaching, debate coaching, mock trial, basketball, administration, announcing. I was able to keep up with it all because our friendship endured up to the present. And what a great friend he has been. Always there when needed with advice or help. While he was hesitant to promote his own accomplishments, he always let it be known to the world whenever good things happened to me or any of his friends.
There was never any burnout with Chuck–he just kept going in his devotion to and love for the school. Equally strong were his efforts to maintain contact with so many friends through the years. When he travelled he would make it a point to visit all that he knew wherever he was going. His influence has been vast and lasting.
By any measure, Chuck was a great man. His legacy will endure. My life will not be the same without him.
Being a member of Damien debate for four years provide me with many of my fondest and longest lasting memories and life lessons. Whether it was countless hours of preparation, the memorable trips, or just hanging out in the “dungeon” discussing the pertinent topics of the day, the lessons learned still shape my life today. My relationship with Mr. Balling all might not have always been the smoothest( being the recipient of many well deserved raised eyebrows), but I will always remember the conversation before my senior year when I told him I would not be returning to the team. I had a myriad of reasons and excuses which I laid out in a concise and well reasoned argument. He listened patiently and responded that the choice was mine but that I was a valuable member of the team and regardless of how much time I had to devote to it they really needed me. Looking back I was probably the weaker member of the 8th team that year, but what Coach knew that day and I only realized years later, was not that the team needed me but how much I needed them. Thanks, Coach.
I can remember basketball season in class of 87 season, Mr B or Coach B to some calling the game…He called my name a lot that year “Eastlack” for 2, we used to talk about the 3 pt line which came in the yr after I graduated, what a season we could’ve or might’ve had…Coach B as I knew him will always be remembered, always encouraging Spartans to be good sportsman….hard day for the Damien family RIP Coach B
Chuck, I’m struggling to accept that you’re gone. While you were an amazing teacher and I thoroughly enjoyed being your student, it was our friendship post-graduation that I truly cherish. Lunches at La Paloma, the times we saw The Big Lebowski and Rebel Without a Cause in Hollywood, meeting up at USC after debate tournaments, and drinks at Heros with Jeff Coray and Sam Pearsall (actually, I think only Sam and I drank!). You were a true friend; someone I knew still cared about me 20 years after I left Damien. You’ll be missed, my friend, but always remembered.
I had years of swim, debate and AP U.S. History with you Chuck. I spent more hours with you then any other teacher or coach at Damien. Thanks for everything you did all all you taught me. I won’t forget you. RIP Coach B.
Chuck Ballingall was an icon in the Debate community. Those of us who interacted with him at numerous tournaments across the country recognized and genuinely appreciated his dedication to forensics.
Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
What a good friend for so many years! In conversation, always a smile and yet serious at the same time. Being such a distance apart and on different tournament schedules made for precious few opportunities to be together, but every minute was a treasure and a source of gratitude for opportunities given. Even after I had retired from teaching and limited my role in our debate program, he still cared about the values and goals we each shared and how and what our debaters did. Chuck cared about our kids as much as he did his own. I am so sorry that his powerful influence for good will only continue in our minds and hearts. Rest in Peace, Chuck. You have my gratitude, my prayers and a Mass offered in Erie for your entry into eternal life. Ray
I never had Mr. Ballingall during my four years at Damien HS; however, I was able to get to know him from playing basketball as he announced our games. He was an outstanding PA announcer who easily could’ve made a professional career out of it. But he didn’t. Thankfully, for all of us DHS alumni and current students, he dedicated his life to teaching at Damien. The world is a lesser place without Mr. Ballingall in it. RIP
I was so honored to have the opportunity to celebrate your life today. The impact you had on so many young men is awe-inspiring. I still fondly recall our early days–you as the new, cool, young teacher; and me as the “thinking he was cool” senior. Four years later, I had the opportunity to call you “mentor” and “colleague”. Some years later, in my return to Damien, you became not just mentor and colleague, but friend. I am so honored to have known you in so many very different ways. I’m certain that I will miss you every day, in some way–big or small. But I am comforted knowing that Damien is in great hands as my long-time friend and mentor is now an angel watching over it; though nobody can ever possibly replace your basketball/baseball intro: “goooood evening/afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Damien High School for tonight’s/today’s game between ____ and YOUR DAMIEN SPARTANS!”
Your shoes are EXTRA LARGE, just like your loyalty and love of Damien. You will be missed and, though others will fill your roles at Damien, NONE can possibly replace you.
Thank you for making me, and all of those who were blessed to know you, better human beings. God speed, my friend and forever fellow Spartan!