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ver the years, the family has shared their fondness and admiration 
for George in many ways.  Here are some very special thoughts of him.  Shared with you so that you may feel
 the warmth, passion and closeness that only a father, much loved could nurture.




I Used to Ride in Those Hills


                    As a child I’d often ride with my Dad;

We’d be driving along in the car,

And he’d get a special look in his eyes,

As he gazed o’er the scene afar.

Then, almost in a dream he’d say,

And I can hear it still:

“You know it wasn’t long ago

That I used to ride in those hills.”


I knew that he wasn’t speaking of

A ride in the car, of course,

What he saw in his mind was himself,

A young man, riding astride his horse.

That memory is clear to my dad,

And it clearly gives him a thrill

As he hearkens back to yesteryear

When he used to ride in those hills.


The hills are now towns, all filled with shops:

No sign of the horse trails he followed.

Yet, in his mind, the fields are still there,

Though the horseman’s certainly mellowed.

Dad sees a young man, loving each ride,

As he tested his horsemanship skills,

He pictures himself, so tall in the saddle,

Galloping, full out, over those hills.


Now, as I travel the Pathway of Life,

And I face all the smiles and tears,

I know that my Dad has blazed a trail:

To help guide me through the years.

When I come to him to talk things out,

He’ll say, with new meanings still,

“You know…. it wasn’t long ago

That I used to ride in those hills.”




Written with Love on Father’s Day, 1998

By Elizabeth J. Balch

To Detroit and Back

  As a young boy, Dad and I’d ride in the car,
And sure enough, before we got very far,
I’d notice the gas gauge was all the way down.
I knew we wouldn’t even make it to town.
I knew that this time we’d run out of gas,
But Dad remembered his Dad said in the past:

“Don’t give it a worry, for there’s never a lack:
Why, we have enough to get to Detroit and back!”
When I could drive, I learned it fast,
The gas and the money just don’t last.
Dad dug out some quarters from his jeans,
(His folding money came only in dreams.)
He’d give me every last penny and dime,
Then he’d remind me one more time:
“Don’t worry, son, for it’s a known fact,
You have enough to get to Detroit and back..”

Over the years, Dad’s always been there.
And I always know that he really cares.
He’s shown me how to be a man
With a pat on the back or a kick in the can.
He’s taught me to drive the Road of Life
How to see the good, and not the strife.
When I fall short, he picks up the slack.
He always gets us to Detroit and back.


As we worked together the other day,
Dad said there was something he wanted to say.
“I’m not getting any younger, my prime is past.
Sometimes I feel like I’m out of gas.”
I thought about those times he took care of me,
Now it’s time to carry on the legacy:
Dad, don’t you worry, don’t feel the lack,

I’ll help both of us get to Detroit and back.

Written with Love for George on Father’s Day, 1996

By Elizabeth J. Balch



A John Wayne Kind of Dad


What kind of a man is my Dad, you say?

Well, he’s not the kind of man you meet every day.

He’s a kind of a John Wayne sort of a  guy,

Who walks with a gimp and looks you straight in the eye.

A man who’s honest as the day is long,

Who’ll fight undaunted to right what’s wrong.

A fair man, ever true to what he believes

Who’ll do anything for others, whatever their needs.

As kids he was there for us, to nurture and prod,

And we all looked up to him like he was God.

He set our examples of how to live life,

How to handle the good times as well as the strife.

Now we are grown and are thankful to have

Our own John Wayne kind of man for a Dad. 


 Written With Love for George by Elizabeth

Father’s Day, June 18, 2000



                   You’ll Be Fine


I remember back now, and it still makes me smile

When I was a young and innocent child,

We’d walk through the fields, my father and me

The grass was so tall that I couldn’t see.

My path was unclear through the grass and the hay,

I knew I could never have found my own way.

He said to me as his hand held mine,

“Stay close to me, and you’ll be just fine.”


I remember being half-grown up too,

Everything in the world, I thought I knew.

My dad and I would drive to town

With all kinds of people and cars all around.

The people were angry and the cars nearly hit,


       And I was scared and didn’t like it a bit.

But Dad knew, and said to me as his hand patted mine,

“Stay close to me now, and you’ll be just fine.”


When my children were born, and he sat by my side,

We marveled at the miracle and hugged as we cried.

I felt overwhelmed with what lay ahead

“I can never give them enough,” I said.

“How can I guide these tiny feet on the road?”

“How can I teach them to carry the load?”

My Dad smiled and said, with his hand in mine,

“Keep your children close, and you’ll all be just fine.”


The years have gone by, and a good life I’ve had.

I’ve tried to give back what I got from my dad.

Each day as I meet the trials and strife,

I think of all my father meant to my life.

The path ahead still seems hidden and unsure,

But somehow inside me I feel safe and secure.

Though his hand is not always there to hold mine,

I can still hear him say, “Stay close, you’ll be fine.”


 Written with Love on Father’s Day, 1992

By Elizabeth J. Balch





A small boy I know was heard to say,

“My Dad owns the YMCA.”

The words he spoke weren’t far from true

For they were spoken fondly of you:

A man who has given all of his life,

And all of his family and more than one wife,

To a belief that he holds deep in his heart

That each of us must do his part

To make this world a better place

To live and love for the human race.

The answer for you was the YMCA

And the Christian Path you walk each day.

You live the beliefs of body, spirit and mind,

Fellowship, fitness and the ties that bind.

The bottom line you understand

Is how can I help my fellowman?

Your love for the “Y” began with a swim,

And before long, you were running the gym.

There was day camp and judo and USO dances,

Indian campfires, morning runs and magical trances.

A building to build and finally to run,

And meetings to go to – who said it’s all fun!

Your work with “your people” is dear to you –

After all, a man’s got to do what he’s got to do!

You’ve touched many lives, more than you know.

You’ve given them faith and a chance to grow.

Because you cared, they also cared,

And so your Christian mission was shared.

Now retirement beckons, and sure sounds swell –

Your friends are here to wish you well.

And so is your family here to say,

We’re proud and we love you, “Mr. YMCA.”





Written for George Balch on the Occasion of his Retirement Party   July 12, 1991, With Much Love by Elizabeth




It seems like only yesterday
I heard my father say,
“Come on my Son, it’s time for you
To learn to put up hay.”

We took to the fields, my Dad and me,
and worked through that hot day.
We baled and stacked and then restacked – It had to be just his way!
My little hands were sweaty and picked
 And couldn’t make those bales obey,
But Dad persevered and so did I,
And we shared a new love that day.

When I was grown – well, nearly a man,
I heard my Father say,
“Come on, my Son, it’s time for you
To learn to put up hay.”
I was so wise and knew it all,
Even the fine art of hay, but
We baled and stacked and then restacked – It had to be just his way!
My big hands were sweaty and picked
But I couldn’t outwork Dad I must say.
And Dad persevered and so did I
And we shared a new love that day.

Today I got a phone call and
I heard my Father say,
“Come on, my Son, it’s time for you
To help me put up hay.”
We joined in our ritual, my Dad and me,
And worked through that hot day.
We baled and stacked and then restacked – It had to be just his way!



Our hands were sweaty and picked
And we worked as a team, I’d say.
We’d persevered through all the years,
And we shared a new love today.

I can hardly wait for the moment
When I can finally say,
“Come on, my Son, it’s time for you
To learn to put up Grandpa’s hay.”
Then three generations will take to the fields
And we’ll work through the long, hot day.
We’ll bale and stack and then restack – And we’ll do it just Grandpa’s way.

Though our hands will be sweaty and picked
We’ll put away more than just hay.
We’ll persevere and make memories,
And we’ll share a new love that day.

Written with Love by Elizabeth for George Balch on Father’s Day, 1991







He wasn’t just my father, this man that I admire

He belonged to many people, it’s true, I’m not a liar 

Whenever he would wander, wherever he would go

He seemed to know somebody; and make them feel at home

 In places far from civil, I know he heard the sound

Of many happy voices, when he would come around


To ask about their ailments, to flash a healthy smile

He’d let them be important; He’d make them feel worthwhile

When things would seem chaotic, and dark was all around

This man could reassure you, and quickly calm you down


With just a warm expression, remark or kindly word

His gift of true compassion, would take away your hurt

He had no magic power; he didn’t own a dime

But he was always helpful, and eager every time

To show us things important; to tell us of life’s call

So we would grow to be like him, a father to us all


Robert G. Balch 


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