Steven “Steve” S. Balich, 73, passed away peacefully on November 2, 2019, in Glendale, Arizona. Steve was born on July 10, 1946 to Sam and Noddie Balich of Bisbee, Arizona. Steve was the baby of the family joining his brother, Nick, and sister, Christine. After graduating from Bisbee High School, Steve went on to graduate from the University of Phoenix. In 1973, he met the love of his life, Beverly. They were married for 46 years and were blessed with two children, a daughter, Amber, and a son, Justin.
Steve’s professional career with Phelps Dodge Corporation spanned more than three decades throughout the state of Arizona in Morenci, Douglas, and Phoenix. He retired from Phelps Dodge management in 1999 and continued his work in the mining industry concentrating in transportation management for El Capitan. His post-retirement employment also included working for the State of Arizona and part-time at Home Depot.
Steve loved talking with people. He was passionate about his support of the University of Arizona, his men’s bible study group but most of all, his family and friends. Steve had great respect and appreciation for the Serbian heritage and traditions that his grandparents brought from the former Yugoslavia as immigrants to Southern Arizona circa 1905. Steve was always ready to offer his dedicated leadership and generous support for family reunions, special occasions and so many gatherings over the past decades that he will always be remembered by his family and friends with profound gratitude. He enjoyed lifelong engagement in Arizona sports participating in Little League, Babe Ruth, Bisbee Puma football and baseball, serving as a baseball coach, umpire and event management for young people. He also contributed to community/corporate initiatives in support of the Copper Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and University of Arizona football. Steve’s support for his community also included serving on the Board of Cochise College for several years.
Steve is survived by his wife, Beverly, his daughter Amber, his son Justin (Heather), and two beautiful grandchildren, Gavin and Penelope, all of Phoenix. He is also survived by his sister, Christine and (Jerry) Cross of Cottonwood, Az., his mother-in-law, Willie Ruth Wagley, of Tucson and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Steve was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Noddie Balich, his father-in-law Robert “Buster” Wagley and his brother, Nick Balich.
Visitation will be conducted on Friday, November 22, 2019 at St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, 4436 E. McKinley St., Phoenix, from 11 am – 2 pm with a brief service at 1 pm. Funeral service will be on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 1 pm at St. Stephen Nemanja Serbian Orthodox Church, 216 Park Ave., Bisbee, Az. Funeral arrangements are under the care of Messinger Indian School Funeral Home, 7601 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, Az. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Phoenix or St. Stephen Nemanja Orthodox Church in Bisbee, Az.
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