Barbara Balas passed away in Golden, BC on May 19, 2011 at the age of 85 years.
Born in Romania, Barbara immigrated to Canada at the age of 2 years. Along with her parents, Michael and Elizabeth Schutz, and her brother Massie, the family farmed in Saskatchewan for a time before relocating to Osoyoos and later to Penticton, BC.
Barb left home as a teenager to follow her love of horses, rodeos, and all things western. She found work on a farm in Saskatchewan and this is where she met and married her husband, Bill Balas. The couple spent the early years of their marriage farming along with several of Bill’s relatives. Barb was happy to eventually leave Saskatchewan and move back to BC. The family settled in Golden for a number of years and after Bill’s retirement they returned to Oliver, BC. When her husband passed away in 1993, Barb showed her determination and strength by continuing to live on their rural acreage outside of Oliver. She reluctantly moved back to Golden when vascular dementia began to rob her of the ability to live independently.
Barbara loved to garden and was happiest working in her flower beds and maintaining a vast lawn which took hours to mow and trim. She loved the Okanagan heat – the hotter the better. She had an exceptional love for animals and remained true to her devotion to all manner of creatures, often caring for them before herself.
Barb was a wonderful mother to her three sons. She was happiest when the ‘kids’ were home visiting and she would cook her famous cabbage rolls in return for the completion of long lists of chores that she saved up for their visits. Her motto seemed to be “don’t waste time sitting, when you can be outside working”.
Fiercely independent, stubborn and determined, Barb was a hard worker all her life. Even in her later years her family had difficulty keeping up with her daily routine. Loyal and supportive to her family and friends, Barb was a cherished friend to many. Barb did not like being told what to do and she did not willingly surrender control over any aspect of her life even during her final days.
Barbara is survived by her sons – Dale (Lynda), Gary (Mickey) and Don (Joyce); her cherished grandchildren, Tracey and Jason (Lindsey); great-granddaughter Jayden; sisters Isobel Nielsen and Agnes (Al) Dickson; sisters-in-law Rose, Maxine, Billy, Hannah and Leah; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Barbara will make her final return to her beloved Okanagan on August 9th, 2011 when a graveside service will be conducted and her ashes interred beside her husband in Oliver, BC.