close
close
Shirley Ann (Stretar) Balach – Duluth News Tribune
Shirley Ann (Stretar) Balach – Duluth News Tribune

She passed away peacefully on Thursday, June 27th at the age of 100. “Shirley Girly” was loved by many and especially cherished her family, godchildren and friends at St. George’s Serbian Orthodox Church. Shirley was extremely generous, always remembering her loved ones on special occasions and giving of her time at church. She welcomed everyone into her home with open arms and delicious food, including Serbian specialties she learned from her beloved mother-in-law, Mary. Her povitica and English toffee were legendary!

Shirley often reminisced about her childhood on Raleigh Street in Duluth, surrounded by the fun-loving Stretar clan, spending time with her cousins, riding bikes and rollerblading. Her large family home was always filled with piano, concertina and ukulele music, singing, dancing and lots of love. After graduating from Denfeld High School and Duluth Business University, her strong work ethic made her successful in every job she held. Shirley married the love of her life, Joseph Balach, in 1948 and started a family before he finished his dental degree. She devoted herself to raising her family, being involved in her children’s schools and serving her “newly adopted” church and church choir as a singer, treasurer, auditor and volunteer. For decades, Shirley was an integral part of the St. George Serbian Sisters’ Circle (“Kolo”), preparing food for church events and pie sales. As her children grew older, Shirley worked for her husband and son at Balach Dental until she retired in her 80s. In her free time, she enjoyed doing crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, Scrabble, and watching Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. She “fought” for 100 years and made it!

We are deeply grateful to caregivers Lori (Malander) Anderson, Louise Oman, Darrell Martin, Alice Oman and Fran Morgan for their loving and compassionate care that enabled Shirley to remain in her home until her passing.

She is predeceased by her father Joseph and stepmother Mayferd Stretar, her brother Kenneth Stretar and her husband Joe. She will be sadly missed by her children George (Linda), Patty Erickson (Michael Mumey), Therese and Tanya (Michael) Dmowski, her grandchildren Jorrie, Eric and Chad Johnson, Adam Balach, Joseph Dmowski and Claire Pince, her great grandchildren Tiffany, Austyn, Will, Calvin, Kole, Layla and Kygo and many nieces, nephews and kumovi.

Viewing at Dougherty Funeral Home (600 E. 2nd St.) on Friday, July 12, from 5-7 p.m., with pomen at 6:30 p.m. Funeral service at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church (1216 – 104th Ave. W.) on Saturday, July 13, at 11 a.m., with viewing one hour prior. Interment in Oneota Cemetery. Interment is preferred at GND Rec Center or St. George.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home (218) 727-3555

By Liam