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Bernard ‘Barney’ Baalman | 92 | Jerseyville

Bernard “Barney” Baalman, 92, of Jerseyville, passed away on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2024 at Jersey Community Hospital surrounded by his family. Barney was born to Anthony and Frieda (Tepen) Baalman in Meppen, Illinois. One of nine children, Barney grew up in rural Meppen and graduated from Brussels High School in 1950. He attended the University of Illinois before graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1963.
Barney often recalled the hard times his family faced while growing up during the Great Depression. His father lost his farm in the isolated hills of Meppen and travel was limited as the family did not own a vehicle. Following his high school graduation, Barney worked construction until he was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean War in 1952. Fortunately, after basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Barney was sent to Germany where he spent part of his service as an interpreter due to the practice he had speaking the language during visits to his grandma Tepen’s home. Barney described his experiences in Germany as one of the highlights of his life and often shared stories of his adventures with his grandchildren.
In 1954, Barney was discharged from the Army and again worked various construction jobs until deciding to go to college. He began at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and took enough pre-med courses to qualify for medical school, though he still wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a doctor. He then attended St. Louis University where as a junior medical student he fortuitously met his wife Joan, who was a nurse at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He said he knew she was the right girl when she didn’t leave him the first time he brought her to his parents’ home in Meppen (they had no indoor plumbing). After finishing medical school and completing an internship at Washington University, Barney and Joan spent nearly 29 years caring for patients at Calhoun Family Practice in Hardin while also taking care of their own eight children. Due to the lack of after-hours emergency care, Barney often saw patients with minor medical emergencies in his home.
Among many accomplishments throughout his career, Barney had a hand in the formation of the Calhoun County Health Department in the 1960s. He became board certified in the specialty of family practice in the 1970s. He was elected a fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians in the 1980s. He served as Chief of Staff at Jersey Community Hospital for a number of years and was also a clinical associate at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine for many years. Outside of practicing medicine, Barney had the opportunity to help coach the Calhoun County Khoury League baseball team for 12 years where they earned the title of Tri-State Champs. He also served as a board member for Calhoun Community School District for six years.
Barney left his practice in Hardin in 1993. He spent much of the decades following traveling with Joan, hunting and fishing off the family’s island in the Mississippi River, cooking delicious meals for his grandchildren and tending to the beloved Baalman’s Produce farm with his late son Mark. His greatest hobby was gardening and could often be found in the garden with a cigar in one hand and a rum and coke in the other. Barney spent much of his retired life living in Jerseyville but was in Calhoun County often as six of his children lived in Hardin. He said the people of Calhoun County are the greatest people on Earth, and that they were always very kind to his family. It gave him great pleasure to meet and talk to many of his former patients and share old times with them.
Barney is survived by his wife, Joan Baalman; brothers, Tony (Kathy) Baalman, Steve (Diane) Baalman and Vince (Pat) Baalman; sisters, Mary Walker and Cathy King; sister-in-law, Bobi (James) Eroncig; daughters, Kim (Eric) Eberlin and Sue (Brett) Pohlman; sons, Tony (Maria) Baalman, Matt (Missy) Baalman, Jeff (Karen) Baalman, Tim Baalman, and Brad (Stacey) Baalman; 23 grandchildren, Lacey, Laura, Levi, Kyndal, Josh, Kailyn, Joe, Drake, Gus, Ali, Jonah, Sam, Jesse, Damian, Abby, Brandon, Emily, Cory, Kadiah, Sydney, Olivia, Drew and Nick; 13 great-grandchildren Layla, Emma, Josie, Lucy, Ellie, Liam, Luke, Owen, Jack, Scarlett, Stella, Dean and Reid; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mark Baalman; parents, Anthony and Frieda Baalman; brothers, Bro. William Baalman, C.P., Robert Baalman and James Baalman; sister-in-law, Dody Martin; and brothers-in-law, Clifford Martin, Douglas King, and Ernest Walker.
A private visitation will be held for the immediate family. The funeral mass will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, February 10th at St. Norbert’s Church in Hardin with Father Don J. Roberts officiating. A celebration of life will be held until 4 p.m. at Straight Home Bar & Grill following the burial at St. Norbert’s Cemetery in Hardin.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to St. Norbert’s Catholic School or the St. Vincent De Paul Mark Baalman Memorial.
Online Condolences may be given at

1 Comment

  1. Ken Slone on February 13, 2024 at 8:11 am

    Sorry for the loss, I thought he was one of the best doctors you could get. RIP

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