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Stephen F. Balshi

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Stephen F. Balshi Obituary
Stephen F. Balshi
Stephen Francis Balshi, M.D., F.A.C.S., loving husband of Josephine, proud and generous father, grandfather and great-grandfather died on December 16 in Bethlehem, PA at the age of 90. Born February 1, 1921 in Bethlehem, PA to Helen A. and Stephen M. Balshi of Bethlehem, he attended Liberty High School (Class of 1938), graduated from Lehigh University with Honors (Class of 1942) and received his M.D. degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, graduating as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society (Class of 1945). He married the love of his life, Josephine Marie Bartos, on June 9, 1945. Dr. Balshi was immediately assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Corps and served active duty at the US Veterans Hospital in Coatesville, PA. After practicing General Medicine for 9 years, Dr. Balshi returned to Jefferson Medical College for a 3 year Residency in Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) which he completed in 1959. As a Board Certified ENT Surgeon, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He returned to Bethlehem, serving the community as an ENT Surgeon, performing the first microscopic ear surgery to restore hearing in the Lehigh Valley. He served as Chief of Otolaryngology at St. Lukes Hospital (1974-1989) and developed St. Lukes first Speech & Hearing Center for the diagnosis and treatment of Hearing, Speech and Vestibular disorders. Showing his tireless compassion for the afflicted and a genuine heart for the poor, Dr. Balshi spent 22 years staffing the hospitals Free Charity Clinic each week. In 2008, he established the Fund for Vascular Research, Education and Technology at St. Lukes Hospital. His professional activities included membership in the Northampton County Medical Society, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He was president of the Catholic Professional Mens Association, a member of the American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology and the Pennsylvania Academy of Otolaryngology. Upon his retirement from the practice of medicine for 52 years, his children honored him by establishing The Stephen F. Balshi, M.D., Prize in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at his Alma Mater, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Balshi loved and lived his Catholic faith with humility and joy. He was an active and dedicated parishioner of Bethlehems St. Annes Catholic Church for 50 years. Post Vatican II, he became one of the first Lectors at St. Annes and eventually also served as a Eucharistic Minister. He led a variety of committees and contributed to countless parish campaigns, establishing the St. Annes School Balshi Scholarship Fund. After retiring, he volunteered each week at the Ecumenical Soup Kitchen in Allentown. During his last few years, he and his wife have been active and supportive members of the Assumption B.V.M. Church in Center Valley, PA. Dr. Balshi was also involved with numerous organizations in the Lehigh Valley and served as President of the Bethlehem Serra Club. He was also a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. Dr. Balshi was a Charter Member of the Allentown Diocese First Synod, a Charter Trustee of the Lehigh University Newman Foundation, a founding member of the DeSales University Salesian Center for Faith & Culture and a member of the Presidents Council. He was recently honored as the first recipient of the DeSales University Outstanding Senior Golfer award. A man of enormous energy, he found time to garden, to grow bushels of tomatoes and to enjoy a game of golf at his favorite haunt, Saucon Valley Country Club, where he is on record as having hit a hole-in-one two times. Survivors: Dr. Balshi is pre-deceased by his parents. He is survived by his beloved wife, Josephine Marie, and his six children, his most prized possessions: Thomas J. Balshi, D.D.S., and his wife Joanne (PA), Stephen J. Balshi and his wife Paulette (PA), Mary Ann Balshi Okner and her husband, Thomas L. Okner, M.D. (MN), Kathleen Balshi Kucer, M.D. and her husband Frank T. Kucer, M. D. (PA), James D. Balshi, M.D. and his wife Jill (PA) and Philip J. Balshi and his wife Pamela Scott, J.D. (NY). His love and devotion to his family were unsurpassed. He celebrated each and every accomplishment and milestone of his six children, his 14 grandchildren and his 14 great-grandchildren. He will be most affectionately remembered by close family and friends, but most especially missed by those who called him Pop Pop: Anne Kristin Balshi Nguyen and her husband Linh, Thomas C. Balshi, M.D. (Alexandra Rose, Brandon and Benjamin); Stephen F. Balshi, II, and wife Caitlin (Samantha and Peyton); Timothy Balshi and wife SorayaBalshi (Ana and Chloe); Michael Balshi, PH.D. and wife CarolynBalshi, Pharm. D. (Mara); Catherine Okner Schobert and husband Christopher R. Schobert (Luke, Mark and Claire Marie); Michelle E. Okner and Jed Tick; Paul T. Okner, J.D. and wife Alexandra T. Okner; Jeffrey Kucer and his wife Diana Kucer (Cole); BrianKucer, M.D. and wife Kate Murray, M.D. (Linus and Jasper); Andrew Kucer, J.D. and Sheryl Smith; Daniel Kucer; Christopher Balshi and Andrew C. Balshi. Services: Visitation will be held at the Connell Funeral Home, 245 East Broad Street, Bethlehem, (610-868-8531) from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, December 18, and one hour prior to the Mass of Christian Burial to be celebrated at the Assumption, B.V.M. on Monday morning, December 19 at 11 a.m. Interment will take place following the Mass at Holy Savior Catholic Cemetery in Bethlehem, PA. Contributions: In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the following: The Jefferson Foundation, Balshi Prize, 925 Chestnut St., Suite 110, Philadelphia, PA 19107, DeSales University, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, PA 18034, St. Annes Catholic School, Balshi Scholarship Fund, 450 Washington Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18017 or Assumption Church of BVM, 4101 Old Bethlehem Pike, Bethlehem, PA 18015. Send online condolences to www.connellfuneral.com
Published in Morning Call from Dec. 17 to Dec. 18, 2011
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