In Memoriam

James Kallina
May 12, 2000

Obituary & Life History


Deaf school teacher had love for fishing

by Erik Rodriguez (Austin American-Statesman Staff)

   To James Leon Kallina, deafness was anything but a disability.  The Texas School for the Deaf instructor has a passion for sports, gardening and bass fishing that spoken words could not describe, family members said.
   Kallina, 53, died Friday in a motorcycle wreck on South First Street and Barron Springs Roads.
   "He was proud to be deaf, and yet he was very comfortable with people that could hear," Kallina's wife, Jeanne, said Saturday,  " he was able to be part of both worlds and make everyone laugh and feel loved and welcome."
   Kallina was born in San Antonio and attended Sunshine Cottage and later, the Texas School for the Deaf.  He went on to receive a bachelor's degree from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and did graduate work in deaf education at California State University of Northridge.
   In 1970, Kallina began teaching at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, returning to the Texas School for the Deaf as a teacher in 1978.
   In the 22 years since then, Kallina taught a variety of subjects at the school, including woodworking, math and job skills.

   "He always had a smile and a story for everybody," said Claire Bugen, superintendent of the Texas School for the Deaf.  "He had a passion for fishing, and he would often see if he could get some of the kids interested in his hobby."
   Kallina was active in his interests and made a difference in the deaf community, Bugen said.  He was a member of the Southwestern Athletic Club for the Deaf, and was secretary of the Texas Bass Club for the Deaf.
   More importantly, Kallina was president of the Austin Association for the Deaf for nine years, a job he only recently retired from, his wife said.
   Kallina is survived by his wife, his children Jason Leon of Colorado, Melissa Sue and Patrick Albert of Austin, and mother, Elouise Kallina of San Antonio.




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