Former board member who helped shape Inverness dies at 70

A longtime Inverness leader who literally helped to shape the footprint of the community has died.

James Baloun, who served two terms on the village board and also led the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District, died Saturday. He was 70.

It was back in the 1970s that as a homeowner of five acres in what was then unincorporated Cook County that Baloun worked with Inverness officials to annex his neighborhood and the surrounding parcels.

The "Baloun Annexation" extended the village boundaries west by taking in lots north of Palatine Road and west of Ela Road, going as far west as Williams Road, all in Palatine Township.

Baloun worked with village officials to annex the land in 1978 and 1979, and by 1981 he was elected to the village board. He would serve the village and its residents until 1989. During many of those same years Baloun also led the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District as president.

Baloun was a certified public accountant ran a successful business, Baloun and Co., with his brother Donald, but he had had no experience in elected office.

"His leadership (in local government) grew out of his involvement in the neighborhood and his concern for its services," Donald Baloun said.

One of his priorities was bringing fire protection to the village and paramedics who would respond to emergencies. While the fire protection district partnered with the Palatine Fire Department, Baloun and others wanted a fire station built closer to Inverness to make response times quicker.

They realized their dream with the construction of a fire station on Dundee Road in Palatine. That facility now is a Masonic Temple; however, the quest for local fire service continued into the late 1990s, when the Palatine Rural Fire Protection District built a new fire station on Ela Road, equipped to respond to two-thirds of Inverness.

When Baloun stepped down from village board in 1989, then-Mayor Donna Thomas issued a proclamation recognizing his leadership.

"Throughout all his volunteer service as a trustee for the village of Inverness, Jim has always made decisions based upon his financial and accounting skills, and sound business judgment," the proclamation read.

Besides his brother, Baloun is survived by two daughters, Barbara Anne (Nicholas Toth) and Betsy Anne (Bryan Burns), as well as three grandchildren, another brother, Ronald, and a sister, Adrienne (the late Michael) Iavorone.

Visitation will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 185 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine, followed by a 10 a.m. funeral Mass Friday at Holy Family Parish, 2515 W. Palatine Road in Inverness.

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