Mia Christine Balko passed away on June 17, 2021 after a two year courageous battle with colon cancer. She was born March 8, 1973 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mia attacked her cancer with the same courage and tenacity that she approached everything in her life.
Mia is preceded in death by her grandparents, Lawrence and Lucille Hurley, and Clarence and Bernice Balko. Mia is survived by her devoted parents, Ralph and Dianne Balko, and her siblings that she adored, sister, Alexis “Lexi” (Kevin) and brother, Neely (Lauren). While her work was her passion, her greatest and most recent title was Tia Mia. Parker, Emerson, Evelyn and Charlie were, as she affectionately called them, “her girls”. She was most proud of her nieces and couldn’t wait to share the latest things they were learning or sweet thing they said.
A childhood spent in the cotton fields on the south Texas coastline, in the pig barns of Nueces County, and in the influence of her greatest mentor and ag teacher, Jerome Tymrak, left no room for doubt that Mia would pursue a career in agriculture. Mia left home and headed to one of the places she loved the most, Aggieland, USA. The most loyal of Fighting Texas Aggies, Mia pursued a degree in agricultural science and graduated as the proudest member of the Class of ‘95. She relished the opportunity to support the Aggies at any and every opportunity.
Upon graduation from college, Mia took her first teaching job at Alvin High School. She was one of the most adored teachers on campus, and before long everyone was joining Alvin FFA. It was here that her students dubbed her Mama Mia, a name that would stay with her forever. Mia was a highly respected and influential educator, and eventually had the opportunity to return home and teach in five school districts in her beloved Area X.
As an agriculture science teacher, her life was dedicated to her students. She was invested in making sure that every one of them had every opportunity available. A road warrior at heart, she was willing to travel anywhere for her students – especially if it meant she was bringing new pigs back to the barn. There were times that she took them on their first plane ride, their first trip to the panhandle, or their first trip on a college campus. Her love and pride of her students transcended the classroom, and as they got older, she was the first to be included in their milestones for the rest of their lives. Her students will always be grateful to have had a front row seat to a legend in the making. Her legacy is in the success they all continue to experience.
An incredible opportunity to combine her love of agriculture education and public outreach came when Texas Farm Bureau offered Mia a job as the Director of Youth Outreach. She developed programs to expand agriculture for the youth all over Texas. Teaching youth about agriculture in Texas was her calling, and Texas Farm Bureau gave her the perfect platform.
Mia will be missed, but her memory will live on forever. A memorial and celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at Sawyer George Funeral Home in Corpus Christi, Texas. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1 – 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Texas FFA Foundation, 614 E. 12 Street, Austin, TX 78701, Attn: The Mia Balko Memorial Scholarship. Donations may also be made online at the following link https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=texasffa&id=41. Mia’s scholarship will continue her mission of growing agriculture education in Texas.
“Success is a journey, not a destination, and the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and EVERYTHING is within walking distance.” – Mia Balko
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