My Friend George
It is past 10:30 pm on the west coast. Liz Balch just called me to tell me that her love, her best friend and her soul mate, George Balch past away tonight.
I didn't know how I would react to this news. I've know George for over 50 years and I visited him a couple of weeks ago to have him laugh at some of the crazy things he has done and seen in his lifetime. We cried a lot, too, but they were mostly tears of joy for being allowed to have such a wonderful life.
He was a great mentor to me. I became a YMCA Director because of his influence, and I've tried to follow him in his quest to make his life important through judo training. If anything, I've learned to smile at life's disappointments and to delight in life's pleasures because that is what George did.
George has affected many of you. Some directly by being your friend and mentor, too. Some indirectly, by being my friend and letting those parts of him that were in me rub off on you.
George believed that we were put here for a purpose and that we needed to let our lives shine on other's. There is a star in the sky tonight that is shining brighter. It is a spirit that can remind us of our purpose. Remember him.
God Bless you all.
Elizabeth & Family,
I admired no man more than I admired George. I just wish my two daughters someday marry a man just like George.
I betcha he is seated with the archangels!
I've met a lot of people in my 75 years, but I can count only a few I would consider real, true friends. George is one of those who I would place at the head of my short list. I've known George for some 50 years during which time I've grown to appreciate his honesty and loyalty but, above all, the enthusiasm which he brought to every project or undertaking.
We were stunned by the devastation of his illness and feel helpless to do anything to comfort such a gentleman and dear friend.
Our prayers are for you both.
Don and Jeanne Pohl
name is Jerry Jackson. I’m
a friend and admirer of your husband.
From the first day that I met him many years ago at the Midwestern
Judo Championships, I knew I was being introduced to a very special man.
He was one of the leaders directing and managing the tournament.
As a student and novice of the sport, I sat and listen to him
intently. He had a engaging
smile and he talked about Judo with love and passion in his voice.
As I watched him, I thought to myself, if a guy could love
something this much and talk about it with so much enthusiasm, I’m going
to have a wonderful experience learning Judo and I was right.
explaining to George that I had been away from Judo since 1982, he
encouraged me to get involved again.
He was always recruiting volunteers and he led by example.
There aren’t many people who volunteered more than George.
He was the ultimate “Go to Guy”.
If any young man wanted to see an example of a “real man”, they
could look to men like George. He
is a man whose legacy will be charity, compassion, dedication and love for
others to name a few.
will always inspire me and few people in my life have touched me with such
sincerity and kindness as George. Jerry
Wee and I have talked many times about the endearing people in our lives
and those who have had a profound influence over us; George Balch ranks
among the most loved by us. Every
one I know shares our sentiments.
so pleased the friends of George have created the U.S.J.F
George C. Balch Education Scholarship Fund in his honor.
He truly deserves our love and recognition for a life of
dedication to the sport of Judo.
With all my love,
Thanks so much for the update on George--and you. I was so very grateful to be able to simply hold his hand for a few minutes--it will always be with me. Also, the little time we were able to spend with you was a wonderful blessing. There is really nothing more that I can verbalize. You know how much we love both of you.
I have attached a little story about an experience that helped me pass through the valley--as you are doing now.
May God give you his peace, grace, and strength.
Ron & Ruth
It's taken me over 35yrs to call you anything but Mr. Balch. It may come as a surprise to you but I often have difficulty expressing myself in person. There were so many things I wanted to say to you yesterday when we spoke on the phone, but I was in my car with Noboru & Neal Makki and I just couldn't bring myself to speak of such personal feelings in front of other people, even though we are good friends. I actually remember the 1st time I met you. It was at a shiai. I think your words of encouragement helped me stay in judo. I know your positive attitude and kindness have helped and encouraged many people to stay and contribute to the sport we all love. I cannot think of my life without judo, and I cannot think of judo without you, John Osako or Noboru. I know that judo is richer for having you involved in it. I know my life has been. I know I should have said these things before, but as I said I often have difficulty expressing my feelings. As it turns out, today was a very busy work day and tomorrow promises to be also, but if at all possible I would like to call or see you this week.
I thought this was particularly appropriate.
"Think where man's glory most begins and ends and say my glory was I had such friends." W.B. Yates
The weekend was a blur, a whirlwind. I feel so honored that I know your dear husband. And to know you. You are providing such gentleness and showing such strength that it overwhelms me. Yet I know that you cannot nor would do less.
I had a hard time tearing myself away. It had to be done, but it was difficult non-the-less. If you can, please continue giving my hand squeezes and hugs to George. And to you.
it often takes an extraordinary situation to ferret out the things that matter. Case in point: it is my good fortune and pleasure to know you; you are an honorable and caring man. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Keith Sheppard, Sandan
Sincerely, E.K. Koiwai, M.D.
I remember George in the old days 1960's. He is
unquestionably one of
Judo is a benefactor for all who see him think,
" how great, I'd like
They don't know he's our best advertisement ready made.
Dear Mrs. Balch: