In Memory

James Balassone

James Balassone

James Work Balassone Obituary

James Work Balassone

January 21, 1942 - May 6, 2017

Jim Balassone, a longtime sales executive who evolved into a highly regarded expert on business ethics and later founded a medical nonprofit, passed away in Santa Clara. He was 75.
Jim was born in Great Neck, N.Y. to James M. Balassone and Josephine W. Balassone. Jim graduated from Princeton University in 1964 and was involved in fundraising for his alma mater for more than half a century, including co-chairing the 50th Reunion campaign for his graduating class that raised more than $4 million.
A retired U.S. Marine Corps reservist, Jim earned an MBA from New York University. His passion for acquiring new and diverse knowledge aided his rise through the ranks of several multinational organizations, including IBM and Hitachi Data Systems.
Jim retired from the private sector to become an executive-in-residence at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University, where he brought academics and business professionals together to address critical ethical challenges and develop best practices for building ethical organizational cultures.
Recently, Jim co-founded the non-profit Bulamu Healthcare International, which provides free primary healthcare to families in rural Uganda. In its second year of operation, Bulamu has already treated over 11,000 patients through three week-long medical camps and a recently opened full time walk-in clinic to screen for and treat cervical cancer. 
He is survived by his children – Merrill, 34, Elizabeth, 32, and James, 26, all of San Francisco, and his wife of 34 years, Betsy Gilmore Balassone, of Los Altos.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 10 at Foothills Congregational Church, 461 Orange Ave. in Los Altos 
(please RSVP to
Jim's family has asked that any donations be made to Bulamu International, at


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07/06/17 09:40 PM #1    

Kathrin (Jane) Seitz (Anderson)

I remember him as a lively and lovely young man. RIP.

07/07/17 11:05 AM #2    

Judith Richards (Orenstein)

Gone too soon. What a lovely tribute to a life well lived. My condolences to his family.

07/08/17 02:54 PM #3    

Merryl Kestenbaum (Chaitman)


So sorry to hear about the passing of Jim . We started school together in Arrandale and went all the way to high school together.   He was always very kind  and will be missed by all who knew him..

Merryl kestenbaum chaitman 




07/08/17 02:55 PM #4    

Barry Small

Jim was the smartest kid in our 5th grade class .He was very outgoing, confident and often smiling. Jim's parents were teachers and I had the very good fortune of  the presence of his lovely mother. We recalled the past, and Jim wrote that his non-profit had changed his life and he was very very happy.

May you be at peace, may you be free from suffering.

07/10/17 07:27 AM #5    

Bruce Lefkon

Jim was bright, athletic, handsome, and a nice guy.  We were both fullbacks for the soccer team in senior year.  The next year, we faced each other as fullbacks on our freshman teams.  He had one long kick which landed  in front of our goalie, bounced over his head, and in for a goal!  Yikes!... a fullback's dream.  I will not miss that game.  But I will miss his life.  He enhanced others around him, and he enhanced the world.  Rest In Peace, Jim.


07/10/17 12:33 PM #6    

Jerry Zupnick

Jim was a good fellow, intellectually curious, and fun to talk with. I'll miss him. My deepest condolences to his family.

Jerry Zupnick


08/01/17 04:58 PM #7    

Fred Roberts

Totally coincidentally, Jim's daughter, Merrill, has been working with me in support of my Photography Workshop program in the Third World.  Jim and I were planning on getting together, as we hadn't seen each other since high school, but fate intervened.  I received the following information from Merrill.

Thanks, Fred - we'd love to have you if your schedule aligns, and a huge thanks for helping to spread the word among Great Neck HS alums.

The service will be Saturday, September 23 at 2:30 p.m. at Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive in New York, with a reception to follow. We ask those who wish to attend to please RSVP to We will follow up with an email invitation.

Thanks again,


08/03/17 03:40 PM #8    

Michael Pacht

I was saddened to hear of Jim's passing. I didn't know him well but he always seemed to be smiling. I think his mom was my typing teacher. She was a lovely woman and the apple didn't fall far from the tree. My condolences to Jim's family.

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