Obituary: Louis H. Balot III / For career Navy man, fleet 'came first'

Dec. 2, 1963 - April 6, 2013

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Louis H. Balot III, a Navy lieutenant commander who provided technical support for nuclear propulsion systems on U.S. submarines and aircraft carriers from his Monroeville office, died Saturday of melanoma.

He was 49 and lived in Plum with his wife and two daughters.

Lt. Cmdr. Balot was a career Navy man and worked closely with Pittsburgh-area Navy contractors that design and make nuclear power plant components for the U.S. fleet.

A nuclear propulsion reactor operator who had served on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, he worked with a team of Navy personnel and civilians in Monroeville to trouble-shoot propulsion problems for ships around the world. A second team is based in West Mifflin.

The work is demanding in that there is zero tolerance for error, and it makes for long hours because the fleet is deployed everywhere. But Cmdr. Balot's friends and family said he was devoted to the Navy.

"The fleet always came first for Lou," wrote a Navy friend, retired Cmdr. Alan Staude of Brentwood. "He routinely worked harder and stayed on the job later than most would think was necessary or reasonable. He felt it was his job to work a little more on shore so the sailors at sea didn't have to."

Cmdr. Balot's wife, Cynthia, said he still managed to make time for family, helping her raise their two daughters, Lauren and Meghan, on Navy bases and then in Pittsburgh after the family moved here a decade ago.

In addition to family and his Navy duty, he volunteered as an EMT, served as the chaplain for American Legion Post 980 in Plum, and was active with the marching band and music boosters at Plum High School. He answered phones for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation during its annual Labor Day telethon.

Cmdr. Balot was born in Philadelphia and enlisted in the Navy at 19, completing training as an electronics technician in Illinois. He served two tours aboard the Theodore Roosevelt and also served on the USS Shenandoah, a destroyer tender. In 1991 he transferred to a shore base in New York, where he trained other sailors, and later worked in the shipyard during the overhaul of the USS Nimitz and the construction of the USS Ronald Reagan. He transferred to Pittsburgh, Ms. Balot's hometown, in 2003 and was later promoted to lieutenant commander here.

He was diagnosed with melanoma four months ago.

Visitation is from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. today at Soxman Funeral Home in Penn Hills. Cmdr. Balot will be buried Friday at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Cecil.

obituaries

Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.


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