KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
September 10, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
A memorial service will be held tomorrow, September 11, for Katy resident Kelly Balser. The devoted wife, mother, and Morton Ranch High School nurse, passed away on September 4 from the coronavirus. The memorial will be shared via livestream.
On September 4, Kelly Balser (50) lost her battle with COVID-19. She leaves behind her husband Mark, daughter Halee, son Lance, extended family, friends, and countless students who she has cared for during her 22 years of service in Katy ISD.
This Friday, September 11, Balser’s family, friends, and the community will honor her in a memorial service on what would have been Kelly’s 51st birthday.
Tested Positive for COVID-19 Last Month
On August 8, Kelly was admitted to Katy’s Memorial Hermann hospital for bilateral pneumonia, just days after testing positive for COVID-19. Her family wasn’t able to see her while she was in the hospital.
The Balser family has deep roots in Katy’s Morton Ranch High School family. Kelly’s husband and high school sweetheart, Mark Balser, is a teacher and a wrestling coach at the school, and their son, Lance graduated from MRHS last year. Their daughter Halee graduated from Cinco Ranch High School in 2013.
Kelly served the Maverick family as the nurse at MRHS for the past 17 years. Before that, she worked for five years as the nurse at Katy Junior High.
Praise, Support from School Principal
“Kelly took care of all of us and the best way to honor her legacy is to continue to take care of each other as a Maverick family,” wrote MRHS Principal Julie Hinson in a statement after Kelly’s death. “We need to love on each other as much as she loved on all of us.”
“She always knew which kids needed a little extra love and she just spoiled them,” says MRHS mom, Linz Vallejo. “They just knew they could sit in her two little chairs inside her office for some crackers and a pat on the back and reassuring words.”
Friends Remember Kelly
Stacey Minier met Kelly in elementary school. He recalls talking to her in homeroom through junior high and high school.
“She was just easy to have a conversation with and wouldn’t hesitate to keep me straight,” says Stacey Minier. “If she was here right now, we would not miss a beat and it would be like 1987 all over again. I look back on those days and it makes me smile.”
Alicia Ade has been Kelly’s best friend since the fourth grade. She describes Kelly as one of the smartest people she ever knew.
“The one thing I will remember the most about Kelly is her love for Mark and her children,” says Alicia Ade. “I was there when they met and it was truly love at first sight. I have never seen another couple in my life with as much love for one another as Mark and Kelly.” (Pictured: Kelly, far right in denim jacket.)
High School Sweethearts
Kelly met Mark Balser in January of 1986, when she was a junior in high school. They were married for 32 years.
Mark and Kelly at their senior prom, 1987.
Kelly volunteered as a Blue Bird and that inspired her to be a nurse. In 1994, she graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with a nursing degree. She worked as a registered nurse in orthopedics at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN and Memorial Hermann in Memorial City.
Kelly loved photography, traveling to national parks with her family, and playing with her pets Libby and Clara. Last December, the Balser family celebrated the marriage of their daughter, Halee to Chris Spitzenberger, of Richmond.
Marci Cochran says her sister’s thoroughness, caring, and advocating made her stand out as a nurse. She said Kelly “was very worried about the safety of her students and faculty” with the coronavirus pandemic.
Cochran says she will miss everything about Kelly. “The way she made everyone feel,” says Cochran. “She made everyone around her a better person just by being her.”
Kelly’s family will honor her tomorrow, Friday, September 11, in a private memorial service at Katy Funeral Home. However, the service will be available for the community to view via livestream from 6 to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Kelly's memory may be made to Sjogren's Foundation, 10701 Parkridge Blvd., Suite 170, Reston, Virginia 20191, sjogrens.org.