Char Ballinger

March 26, 1949 - June 2, 2016
Mattawan, MI



Sunday, June 5, 2016
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served.

Driving Directions


Monday, June 6, 2016
10:30 AM EDT
St. John Bosco Catholic Church
23830 Front Street
Mattawan, MI 49071
(269) 668-3312

Burial at Maple Grove Cemetery. Lunch will follow the burial back in the church hall.

Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

West Michigan Cancer Center
200 North Park Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 382-2500
Driving Directions
Web Site

Great Lakes Caring Hospice
6120 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 372-8555
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Char Ballinger was full of life. She was a loving wife, devoted mother and joyful grandmother. She was very giving of her time and always seemed to have enough energy to take care of everyone around her. Known to be intelligent, caring and kind beyond measure, she will be forever missed.

After many years of misery through the depression and World War II, 1949 brought much needed prosperity. Televisions and cars were popular goods demanded in a growing consumer society. The cars were getting bigger and on TV were new types of programs called Soap Operas, a catchy name to grab the attention of the stay at home moms of the day. The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl that year and thanks to the Brooks Brothers men were dressing in argyle socks. In the small hometown of Mattawan, Michigan Bernard Wolf Sr. and Maxine Kaltz welcomed a fourth child to their home, a loving newborn daughter, Char, born on March 26th.

Living her whole life in that quaint town, Char attended St. John Bosco School and graduated from Mattawan High School in 1967. Always one to embrace a challenge, while in high school, Char was the Drum Major and also won second runner up in the Miss Mattawan contest. At the tender age of 15, she met Dave Ballinger, her lifelong sweetheart, at a dance after a football game. He was persistent and followed her home. The two of them dated for four years, mostly enjoying movies together until one night he got down on one knee and proposed in a restaurant! They were joined in marriage on August 3, 1968 at St. John Bosco Catholic Church in Mattawan. They remained inseparable, just like the day they first met, throughout their marriage.

Never one to stay idle, after high school, Char attended Tracey Beauty School in Kalamazoo and worked her whole life as a beautician. She was very dedicated to her profession, often working hard to pamper the ladies of Mattawan. She was known for never denying service to anyone regardless of their ability to pay her. Her generosity was admired by many. Char was a true caregiver who woke up early to attend to Dave before he left for work, work long tireless hours at the salon, make her way back home to fix a meal for the family and tidy up the house as well. She never seemed to want for anything other than pleasing others, especially her family.

She and Dave were true companions, staying madly in love through the years while raising their two beautiful children, Amy and Dave. Char was a very supportive mother. She loved to attend all of her children’s events through the years and never seemed to make time for herself. She was selfless in her affection and devotion to her family. She relished in planning many special Christmas Eves for Dave and the kids. In fact, there wasn’t a holiday that she didn’t strive to make memorable for her loved ones.

Her optimistic attitude about life was a true model for her community. Char didn’t seem to let everyday stressors snuff out her light. She often looked on the bright side of every situation. Even when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 51, she never once complained. She fought the battle without bitterness. Her response to life’s setbacks at times was to never give up. She confidently chose to take one day at a time and never burned any bridges along the way. Her love of life was infectious and her positive spirit envied by many. She was an inspiration to all. Sadly, Char passed away and her generosity and caring ways will be greatly missed.

Char Ballinger, age 67, died on June 2, 2016 at her home. She was born March 26, 1949 in Paw Paw, the daughter of Bernard Sr. and Maxine (Kaltz) Wolff. Char worked as a beautician in Mattawan and was a member of St. John Bosco Church. Family includes her husband of 47 years, Dave Ballinger; 2 children: Amy (Matt) Caley and Dave Ballinger; 5 grandchildren: Sawyer, Hannah, Mason, Cammie and Grace; 5 siblings: Bernard Jr., Edward and Kenneth Wolff, Mary Anne Whitney and Virginia Beatty and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Sunday from 5 – 8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (375-2900). Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday 10:30AM at St. John Bosco Church, Mattawan with burial in Maple Grove Cemetery. A luncheon will follow in the church hall. Please visit Char’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to West Michigan Cancer Center or Great Lakes Caring Hospice.