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McKuhen, Austin Michael - Rincon  
Austin Michael McKuhen, 21, passed away April 18, 2015, in Augusta. Austin was born in Savannah and was active in the Port Wentworth, Springfield and Rincon Fire Departments. Survivors include his wife, Emily McKuhen; parents, Willie and Michelle McKuhen of Rincon; paternal grandmother, Mary McKuhen of Meldrim and maternal grandmother Betty Lamb of Rincon. The family will receive friends Wednesday, April 22, from 6-8 p.m. at Riggs Funeral Home. Services will be private. Condolences may be made at riggsfh.com
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Published in Effingham Herald from Apr. 22 to May 22, 2015

Obituaries from the Past Week

Balmer, Walter Stephen "Steve" - Rincon  
Walter Stephen "Steve" Balmer, 73, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2015 at Memorial Health. Steve spoke often of his childhood, having been raised on Wilmington Island during the '40s and '50s. His family home was on the river and salt water fishing became his love early on due to the influence of his dad. He enjoyed discussing the adventures he went on with his father and his two younger brothers including fishing, boat building and camping on our local barrier islands. Seafood was often the special of the day at the Balmer household. He also talked about the many misadventures of him and his friends growing up on a primarily undeveloped Wilmington Island. He took great pride in his knowledge of the history of the island. Steve joined the U.S. Navy just a few days following graduation from Savannah High School in 1960. He retired with 22 years of service as a HMC/chief petty officer. Having saved innumerable lives during his Navy career, he served with the U.S. Marines on the ground in Vietnam in the late sixties, on the USS Sanctuary – a hospital ship operating in the waters off Vietnam - as a bereavement officer and as a public affairs officer at the Naval Hospital in Beaufort, S.C., as well as other duty stations. Steve served his country with pride, taking satisfaction in often receiving the highest evaluations by his superior officers. He was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other medals and commendations. Following his Navy retirement, Steve began a career in woodworking. He worked as a cabinet builder for Wilmington Cabinet Company in addition to several others. He built all sorts of furniture and other items. Indeed, he was building a boat at the time of his death. Steve enjoyed creating a large pile of sawdust whenever he could. In October of 1994, Steve married Charlene Anderson at Hospice House Savannah (their first wedding there), where his mother was being cared for. Steve and Charlene had more than 20 wonderful years together, traveling as often as possible with various Masonic groups frequently raising funds for diabetes research. Their favorite inside joke to each other was "forever and two weeks" indicating the length of their love for each other. Steve and Charlene had many wonderful cats and dogs but his favorite was his current pup, Madison, who was his shadow. Madison accompanied him on boat and beach romps and even swam with the sharks on one trip. Steve grew in his faith during the last several decades. He was a past deacon at Bull Street Baptist Church, where he and Charlene met. He was currently a member of First Baptist Church of Springfield, where he served in the adult choir and was a proud member of the Soul Survivors Sunday school class. Steve also taught a small group of older ladies which he enjoyed immensely. He was a team member of the Good News Club of Ebenezer Elementary School which teaches fourth- and fifth-graders about the Bible. He loved his boys group and even developed a rap song for them. His family had a long tradition of membership in Masonry. Steve was Past Master of Ancient Landmark Lodge No. 231, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, National Sojourners Hunter Chapter, Past Patron of Savannah Chapter 52 – Order of the Eastern Star, Deputy Supreme Royal Patron of the Order of the Amaranth – Georgia Court No. 1, as well as the recipient of the Cross of Colors, International Order of Rainbow for Girls. Steve's daughters, Teresa and Jenny, were active Rainbow Girls and he was a proud dad, often driving them and friends all over Georgia to various meetings, banquets, official visits, dances, etc. He often spoke of them needing various gowns, tiaras and other girl stuff with a big smile on his face. They were his heart. He was preceded in death by his parents, John Stewart Balmer and Mildred Bernhardt Balmer; and son, Walter Stephen Balmer Jr. Survivors include his wife, Charlene A. Balmer; daughters, Teresa Lynne Balmer and Jenny Balmer Clements (Troy); grandchildren, Stephen Darrell Allhiser and Kristen Autumn Lavoie; brothers, John Edwin Balmer and George Thomas Balmer (Carolyn). Visitation was held Monday, April 13 at Thomas C. Strickland & Sons Funeral Home followed by a celebration of life in the chapel. Remembrances may be given to the Georgia Diabetic Research Foundation, P.O. Box 70638, Albany, GA 31708.
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Published in Effingham Herald from Apr. 16 to May 16, 2015
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