was a graduate of Northwestern High School and Olivet College.
He served as a corporal in the US Army (military police) in 1946-47 in
in Japan, he studied Judo at the Kodokan and was actively involved in this sport
throughout his lifetime as a sensei, Pan American referee, teacher and local and
He was recently awarded his seventh degree black belt by the United
States Judo Federation.
He was a recipient of the Michigan Judo Hall of Fame Award and attained
the status of U.S.J.F Referee Emeritus.
He participated as a Judo official in the 1996 Olympics.
Mr. Balch was one of the founding members and secretary of the Michigan
Judo Development Association.
Balch retired from the YMCA in 1991, after over 40 years of devoted service.
He was the first general director of the Macomb YMCA in Mt. Clemens and
also worked at the YMCAs in Flint, Port Huron and Pontiac.
was a lover of animals.
He and his brother raised and showed quarter horses, and his horses
continued to be a great source of pleasure to him.
He also raised buffalo, llamas, fallow deer, sheep, goats, miniature
donkeys, peacocks, a pot bellied pig and, briefly, aoudads.
enjoyed his lifelong hobbies of magic and clowning, as well as playing the
string bass. He
was a member of the Moslem Shrine band.
He was a true patriarch and a hero to his family, and he leaves his beloved wife, Elizabeth, and dear children: Diane and Thomas Taylor of Macomb Township; Robert and Rebecca Balch of Macomb Township; William (Chip) Fosth of Fraser; Randall Fosth of Oxford and John Balch of Romeo. The lights of his life were his eight grandchildren: Matthew and Ryan Taylor, Kaitlin, Shayne and Jake Balch, and Alex, Andrew and Lindsey Fosth. He also leaves a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Diana and Fred Gregg, and several nieces, nephews and their families.
George Balch was an extraordinary man, who touched many lives. In addition to a wealth of special friends, George had four close, long-time friends: Jim Cornforth, Les Stewart, Noboru Saito and Curt Kaye. His mother and father, Ruth and John Balch, sister Jean Boga and brother Clark Balch predeceased him
He leaves us all too soon. He passed away in his sleep at his home in Oxford on March 22nd, 2002. At 74 years, George was still full of energy and enthusiasm when he lost his final battle to cancer of the brain. He had survived an illness to prostate cancer just a year earlier, and had many hopes and ambitions for the new year.
While he leaves us to continue his work in this life, rest assured that he will welcome the chance to serve at the right hand of his great heavenly father in the next. Undoubtedly seeking out those lost souls who feel troubled and in need. How comforted they will feel when they see the gentle smile and warm embrace that was George Balch