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Official Obituary of

James William Louis De Villeneuve Galloway Balcomb

April 27, 1933 ~ March 18, 2024 (age 90) 90 Years Old

James Balcomb Obituary

James William Louis De Villeneuve Galloway Balcomb, age 90 years old, passed away in Thornton, Colorado on March 18th, 2024.

Born on April 27th, 1933, in Queenstown, South Africa, son of Hermina Margaret Katherine Galloway and Leonard Bertram Balcomb.

James Balcomb is survived by his wife of 50 years, Dina Balcomb. His beloved daughters Hermy McCabe, Adinda Balcomb and Barbara Liska. His wonderful son-in-law’s Traves McCabe, Gregory Doerr and Jeremy Liska. His adored grandchildren: Annalien McCabe, Katherine McCabe, Johanna McCabe, Jedd McCabe, James Doerr and David Doerr.

Services will be held at Northglenn United Church of Christ 10500 Grant Street Thornton, CO 80233 on Saturday, March 30th, 2024, at 12pm followed by a luncheon at the church reception hall. All friends and family are welcome - Jimmy would value your presence there, as a last way of reconnecting before his final farewell. 

Some people collect things, and others, like our father, collected adventures…

That was the running theme of his life. He always collected new experiences, as a measure of his life’s fullness. Take for example, he was a bachelor for the first 40 years of his life. In October of that year, he married our mother, and he was happily married to her for 50 years. Before that, as a South African, he traveled and lived in Europe, things not as commonly done back in the 60s and 70s. However, our father was paving his own way by making a living as a photographer, the kind where Photoshop happened in the darkroom, and it was created through layering negatives on top of each other until the right effect was created. Often a painstaking process of trial and error until the right look was achieved, all manually created by hand.   

Photography was always part of his life’s adventures. In a way, when Jimmy lost his father at a young age, an age that he couldn’t quite accurately remember him, was the catalyst he needed to find a profession where he could help other people to document their own memories. In fact, he was the annoying family member with the camera always in front of our faces at family gatherings.  He was the one always documenting the special milestones and devastating losses within the script of our family’s history. What we’ve learned from him was the importance of both seeing and appreciating uniqueness. He was always looking for unique individuals to photograph, someone with ‘character.’  For him, character meant that you would have your portrait taken by an old-fashioned photographer who saw poetry in one’s physical appearance, a story created through light, camera angles, and patience.

For the first 20 years of their marriage, our parents lived in Pretoria, the Jacaranda capital of South Africa, where every October, around the time of their anniversary, the whole city is transformed into an oasis of purple little flowers that looks like little trumpets of florally delight, as the whole city becomes a forest of purple passion. Our life at that time was marked by a home environment that was based off love. In fact, love was served at every meal combined with a sense of discipline and respect and unlimited laugher. We spent most of our time outside in our beautiful garden, or in the pool located next to the Acacia trees where we built memories that still carry us all on days when we need an inspirational boost.

At an age when most people retire, 60 years of age, our father had the opportunity to immigrate to America. He grabbed at the chance, and we relocated from a city in South Africa to the rural town of Cortez in Southwestern Colorado. Since all things immigration-related rarely follow a set plan, the first seven years after immigrating were hard years. My father struggled to find jobs he could legally do to sustain his family, but somehow, he made ends meet through his spirit of determination and being somewhat of a stubborn individual who rarely took ‘no’ for an answer. America was his home for 31 years. For the last 13 years of his life, Thornton became the place where his adventures took their final root. He enjoyed seeing each of his three daughters find their own careers and create their own families. And as a new generation has emerged, containing 6 grandchildren from almost 16 to almost 6 years of age, our father beamed with pride as he re-lived through all their experiences.

Some people collect things, and others collect adventures. My father’s legacy is that he outlived his time through jamming in as much as he could with his almost 91 years of life that he was given. I’m sure if he could have asked death for an extension, he would have requested it right away. But life has its own rhythm; therefore, we must believe that the afterlife needed an old-fashioned photographer with an inexhaustible appetite for adventure.  And we must believe that we can go on without his presence in our life because he has taught us well. He has taught us how to see the beauty in spiritual uniqueness, to value the gift of capturing time, and to enjoy life outside of the expectations of age because there’s always a new adventure residing behind tomorrow’s sunrise.

And may we call this simply, Jimmy’s lessons on how to live deeper with the time you’ve been allotted. A story from a collector of life’s adventures, and how to turn one adventure into a lifetime of memorable-making opportunities.

Jimmy’s legacy…

“What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.”

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Memorial service followed by reception
March 30, 2024

12:00 PM
Northglenn United Church of Christ
10500 Grant Street
Thornton, CO 80233


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