Frank H. Tingley mourns the loss of Bro. William Henry 'Bill' Balser

William Henry "Bill" Balser Sr., 95, formerly of Stoney Creek, NB, passed away peacefully with family by his side at Lakeview Manor in Riverview, NB, on March 31, 2019.

Raised on the family farm in Albert County, Bill volunteered for military service with the RCAF and served from July 1941 to September 1945. He was attached to the tactical mobile ground armament crews reloading fighter planes and saw action across France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany. While in Scotland recovering from injuries sustained in France, Bill met his future wife, Marion (Barrie). They were married in Glasgow in April 1945. After the war, Bill returned to Canada, Marion came to Stoney Creek as a war bride and the couple raised their family on the farm there. Bill was also employed as a supervisor for many years with the NB Department of Highways. He was a member of St. Mary’s Anglican Church and the Hillsborough, NB, Legion Branch No.32.

Bill was an active Mason. He was a member of Howard Lodge #15, Hillsborough; Past Master of Coverdale Lodge #52, Riverview; Senior Grand Deacon, Grand Lodge of New Brunswick; and was awarded the 60-year membership bar in April 2018. Bill was also a member of Scottish Rite and York Rite Masonry, a member of Frank H. Tingley #5 OES, and a member of Luxor Shriners.

Bill was man of quiet determination with a quick wit and dry sense of humour. In February of this year, he was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour (their highest national distinction) for his service during the World War II liberation of France. The insignia was presented at a ceremony at the Hillsborough Legion where the Consul General of France representative thanked Bill and described him as being “a living page of history”. He also received a personal letter from the Ambassador of France expressing gratitude to him and all of his compatriots for their “courage and devotion to the ideals of liberty and peace”. In addition to his service medals, Bill was awarded the 1945 - 2010 Thank You Canada and Allied Forces Medal by the Netherlands and in November 2018, took part in the planting of a commemorative Vimy Oak tree in the Peace Park in Hillsborough, NB.

Bill will be dearly missed by his two sons William Jr. (partner, Sandra) and George (Mary) of Stoney Creek, and his much loved grandchildren, Andrew Balser (Joanne), Kelly Ho (Joel), Erin Guthrie (Erich), Mary Semadeni (Andrew), Stephen Balser (Samantha), James Upham (Catherine), Rob Balser, and Will Balser. Bill is also survived by 15 cherished great-grandchildren in BC, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia as well as a niece Gaynor Taylor and nephew Gordon Lang in Scotland.

In addition to his mother, Mary Mildred Balser, he was predeceased by his daughter-in-law, Kathleen (Edge) Balser (April 2010) and his wife, Marion (November 2013).

Hillsborough Legion Branch No. 32, Frank H. Tingley #5 OES, and Howard Lodge #15, F. & A.M. memorial services will be held collectively at Fergusons Funeral Home Chapel at 6:30 Wednesday, April 3. Visitation from 7 to 9 pm on Wednesday, April 3. A service to celebrate and honour Bill’s life will be held at Fergusons Funeral Home Chapel, 1657 Mountain Road, Moncton (858-1995) on Thursday April 4, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Rob Salloum and Deacon Barbara Haire officiating. A reception will follow in the Funeral Home Reception Centre. Interment will be in Grey’s Island Cemetery at a later date.

The family is very grateful to the staff at Lakeview Manor for their care and compassion during Bill’s years with them, and in particular during the past week. Your many kindnesses to us all will not be forgotten.

In honouring their Dad, Grampy and Great Grampy, the family is establishing the William H. Balser Sr. Memorial Scholarship (payable to Hillsborough Legion Branch #32, c/o P.O. Box 1002, Moncton, NB E1C 8P2) to be awarded to a deserving student of the Caledonia High School graduating class of 2019.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so may contribute to the scholarship or to a memorial of their choice. Online condolences for the family may also be shared at www.fergusonsfuneralhome.com