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Nina Penny Balsam

Date of Death: April 25, 2022

Date of Birth: November 1, 1951


With sadness, love, and profound gratitude, the family of Nina Penny Balsam announces her passing on April 25, 2022, at the age of 70 after a battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Nina was living in Topsham, ME, but spent most of her life in St. Louis, MO. Nina was born on November 1 st 1951 to Milton and Marcia Balsam in Miami. After graduating from Southwest Miami High School in 1969, Nina went on to study Government and Economics at Simmons College, Law at Washington University and Human Service Agency Management at Lindenwood University. Nina was a problem solver and was always thinking of others and how she could help them. She was focused on doing better, being better, knowing more and providing more resources and assistance to allow others to do the same. After obtaining her Juris Doctorate in 1976, Nina got a job as VISTA(Volunteers In Service to America) lawyer at Legal Services. During her 22-year career there, she co-authored and argued as amicus curiae for the constitutionality of the Missouri Adult Abuse Law and was instrumental in starting the Lasting Solution Project; the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence, as its first Legal Director; and the Center for Women in Transition, where she implemented the Missouri Restorative Justice Initiative. She has co-authored several law review articles, including “Examining the Use of Restorative Justice in Domestic Violence Cases”. Nina was The St. Louis County Program Director for the University of Missouri Extension Service. She also taught classes in Domestic Violence and Restorative Justice at universities in St. Louis. Her work experience included consulting on domestic violence, restorative justice, and nonprofit management for courts and nonprofits. Nina assisted Lincoln County plan for the implementation of a Domestic Violence Court and worked with the St. Louis County Domestic Violence Court to convene Domestic Violence Victim Impact Panels. Being Jewish was important to Nina. She was a member of Central Reform Congregation and took great pride in blowing the shofar for their family high holiday services. Nina loved Rabbi Susan Talve, both as a Rabbi and as a determined leader and organizer for justice. Nina loved reading, doing crossword puzzles, dancing, Motown, participating in drum circles and playing softball. She enjoyed hanging out with her friends going to art fairs, concerts, and dance performances. Little things brought her joy like finding the perfect parking spot, she would make a game of it. Nina loved animals and always had a family dog. She loved hoodies and tee shirts with yoga pants, like trivia nights and loved going to parks and beautiful places outdoors. Nina found pleasure in delving deeply into current events, politics, emotions and loved to think and feel. She found daily meditation helped to calm her mind and increase her ability to focus. In addition to her professional accomplishments Nina wanted to have a child. She was a trailblazer in regard to being a lesbian and becoming a mother through artificial insemination. Nina loved her daughter, Marcie Balsam more than anything else in the world (that is until her grandchildren, Luna and Milo, came along). Nina impacted many lives and will be missed dearly. Nina is survived by her long-time partner Ellen Reed, daughter Marcie Balsam, her husband Jason Dill and their two children, her twin brother Alan Balsam and his wife Christine Johnsen, her half-brother Mark Balsam, and his partner Jessica Marta, and half-sister Joan Adley. If you wish to make a donation in the memory of Nina Balsam, please consider Central Reform Congregation of St. Louis, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri or the social justice organization of your choice.

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