| 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
"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
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."
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.
Kallina was president of the Austin Association for
the Deaf for nine years, a job he only recently
retired from, his wife said.
survived by his wife, his children Jason Leon of
Colorado, Melissa Sue and Patrick Albert of Austin,
and mother, Elouise Kallina of San Antonio.