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Joseph Balach

Joseph Robert Balach

Thursday, October 27th, 1921 - Saturday, February 15th, 2020
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Obituary

Dr. Joseph R. Balach, 98, WWII veteran and retired dentist, passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 15th. Known and loved by many, “Joe” treasured and nurtured the relationships he developed over decades. He used his many talents (gardening; oil painting; sausage, salami, wine and liqueur making; blueberry picking; spit barbequing; and speaking multiple languages) to bless others throughout his life. He made each person feel like the most important person in the room, always with uncommon curiosity, kindness, generosity and humility.

Joe was accepted into the US Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program in 1942. He overcame daily air sickness to become a pilot and captain of the Shirley Ann, a Martin B-26 Marauder mid-range bomber. He flew 57 WWII missions over Europe which included bombing Utah Beach on D-Day. Following the war, he joined the US Air Force Reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971. He married the love of his life Shirley Ann Stretar in 1948 and started a family before graduating from the U of M School of Dentistry. Practicing dentistry in St. Paul Park, he felt a strong pull to return home to Duluth to support his recently-widowed mother. Once he set up practice in West Duluth, he accepted numerous leadership positions in Duluth civic and business organizations, his church and both his WWII squadron and dental school class reunion organizations. He led the effort to install a Geological Garden at Stowe Elementary in his home community of Gary New-Duluth and fiercely fought against a demolition landfill. To honor his many years of service, the mayor proclaimed Memorial Day 2017 Joseph Balach Day for the City of Duluth. At every turn, his life was punctuated by service to his family, church, country and community.

A perennial optimist and lifelong learner, Joe approached each day of his life with joyful expectation. Despite suffering a stroke 4 ½ years ago, his sweet nature, independent spirit and concern for others over himself remained to the end. Joe’s family wishes to express our deepest gratitude to Lori (Malander) Anderson for her loving care which allowed him to remain at home with his wife.

Preceded in death by parents Mile and Mary; brothers George, Milan and Steve; and sisters Katya (infant), Sophie Collard and Mildred Nevin. He will be greatly missed by his wife Shirley; children George (Linda), Patty Erickson (Michael Mumey), Therese and Tanya (Michael) Dmowski; grandchildren Jorrie, Eric and Chad Johnson, Adam Balach, Joseph Dmowski and Claire Pince; great-grandchildren Tiffany, Austyn, Will, Calvin, Kole, Kygo and Laila; brother Robert and sister Anna Mae Westerlund; and many nieces, nephews and kumovi.

Memorials preferred to St. George Serbian Orthodox Church or GND Rec Center. Visitation at First Memorial Chapel (4100 Grand Ave.) on Friday, Feb. 21st from 5:30 to 8 PM with Pomen at 7 PM. Funeral service at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church (1216 – 104th Ave. W.) on Saturday at 11 AM with visitation one hour prior. Interment at Oneota Cemetery.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, February 21st, 2020 | 5:30pm - 8:00pm
    When
    Friday, February 21st, 2020 5:30pm - 8:00pm
    Location
    First Memorial Funeral Chapel
    Address
    4100 Grand Avenue
    Duluth, Minnesota
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
    Pomen at 7:00 PM
  • Second Visitation

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 10:00am - 11:00am
    Location
    St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
    Address
    1216 - 104th Avenue West
    Duluth, Minnesota 55808
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Notes
  • Funeral

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 | 11:00am
    When
    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 11:00am
    Location
    St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
    Address
    1216 - 104th Avenue West
    Duluth, Minnesota 55808
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Officiant
    Rev. Fr. Kristijan Petrovich
  • Interment

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 |
    When
    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
    Location
    Oneota Cemetery
    Address
    6403 Highland St.
    Duluth, MN 55807
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Reception

    Location
    St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
    Address
    1216 - 104th Avenue West
    Duluth, Minnesota 55808
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

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Dk_olson@uahoo.com

Posted at 11:16am
George and Linda~. We were so sorry to hear of your father's passing. What a man he was and what a legacy he has to pass down! Our thoughts, prayers, and sincere sympathy are with you and your family at this time.
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