Captain William E. Balch
On April 4, following a stroke, "Captain Bill" age 92, sailed into the sunset for one last voyage to re-unite on the shore of eternity with his wife, Bette, his love and soul mate of 67 years. He passed peacefully with his surviving daughter Judy Miller by his side, and with the care of the wonderful staff of Monaco Ridge Assisted living and Gentiva Hospice.
He was born in Seattle and raised in San Francisco, where he spent his formative years exposed to the sounds of ships and smells of the sea. While in his teens on summer vacation in Stockton, California, he met Bette. They were married in 1942 and settled in the San Francisco Bay area, where they raised their daughter, Judy.
Bill attended the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1942, was promoted to an officer after one year, and entered the service. He had already been working in the Marine Department of Standard Oil Company of California, and had the privilege of serving under his grandfather, Captain William Holden. During the World War II
, he served in many theatres and received the Merchant Marine Defense ribbon, as well as service ribbons for the Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean Middle East war zones. He later served again in the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts.
He continued to work for Standard Oil from 1947 to 1963 managing stations, and as training instructor and merchandiser. He completed his degree in business then returned to the Marine Department. He obtained his ship Master's License in 1970, transferred to Chevron Shipping, and served as Mooring Master until 1979. He retired from Chevron shipping with 39 years of service, then worked as a Los Angeles Harbor Pilot until 1984.
He spent the last 30 years traveling, and was active with the local chapters of VFW
, American Legion, Forty and Eight, and the War Veterans Memorial Association of Northern Nevada. Captain Bill will be remembered for his many sea stories and catchy tunes. He loved his family, the sea and his country. He was very proud to be a veteran.
Services will be held for both Bill and Bette on July 14, at 11:00am at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Captain Bill's name to the War Veterans Memorial Association of Northern Nevada or the SPCA of Reno.