Henry ‘Hank’ Balsley, obituary

Fri, 02/09/2024 - 5:30pm

UNION — Henry ‘Hank’ ‘Pap’ Balsley, 89, of Union passed away peacefully with family by his side on January 7, 2024.

Growing up in Connelsville, Pennsylvania, family was very important to Hank. He was raised on the family farm and was most proud that his dad was able to keep the family afloat during the depression because they had everything they needed right there on the farm. Both of his parents passed when he was very young. He survived those years working in the woods with his brother Dave. He did not enjoy that work like his brother did so he enlisted in the Navy.

After the Navy he was a bartender. After a short week spent with a buddy he found himself enlisted in the US Coast Guard. That was the start of his 30 years of service. Hank excelled in the military. He was able to complete his education, he trained in the US Navy Engineman School, he received many recommendations for Good Conduct, CG Meritorious Unit Commendation on CGC Apalachee, Exemplary performance aboard the USCG Ironwood and was recognized for saving lives aboard the USCG Firebush of Governors Island, New York. Hank was able to travel all corners of the world with the US Coast Guard, with the exception of actually reaching the South Pole. “Hard boat to catch” he would say.

Hank left Pennsylvania one day to get a haircut and that is when he met his wife, Sally. He loved her family as his own. They eventually made their home in Union. They enjoyed having family gatherings in their home and feeding the birds. They loved their dogs. They loved to follow the grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s sports. They were known to all the kids friends as Nan and Pap. They would arrive at least an hour early to get their front row parking spot. Otherwise they could be found at the landing in Rockland enjoying lunch from one of their frequented lunch spots.

Hank retired from the US Coast Guard and worked for several years at Tri County Solid Waste in Union, where he met a lifelong friend, Tim Fogg. The two enjoyed hunting and being with Hank’s dog, DJ. Hank worked for many years for his good friend Vince Ahlholm. Hank developed deep friendships with his co-workers at Beth’s Farm Market. Once he fully retired, he enjoyed going to the Farm several times a week for coffee. “Those were his people” he always said and he looked forward to it all week, planning his trips with his pal, Lizzy.

Hank enjoyed hunting for deer and especially, turkeys. He grew up hunting with his family in Pennsylvania, and enjoyed hunting with his friends here in Maine. He took great joy in his annual, day after Thanksgiving hunt in Pennsylvania with his brother-in-law, Bill Stinson. His most prized hunt was for his long-awaited moose that he and his grandson Justin dropped.

Hank enjoyed talking with his friend Tracy Ahlholm every week. He was a friend who he could depend on, to fix things, provide rides when needed, always making himself available whenever needed. For this our family will forever be thankful. Pap surrounded himself with several good friends and had a special relationship with Sam Smith. Going to visit him or entertaining Sam’s family every Sunday were some of his favorite pastimes. Hank enjoyed their company, hearing about farm life and the family hunting stories.

Hank was predeceased by his wife, Sally Balsley; his brother-in-law Bill Stinson of Maine; his parents, Mary and Charles Balsley; siblings Anna ‘Peg’ Balsley Jacobi, Sally Balsley Prinky, Charles, David and John Balsley; and a nephew, Davey Gordian, all of Pennsylvania.

He is survived by daughters, Susan Whitman and Wendy Daggett; grandchildren, Justin Porter, Riley Whitman, Brittany Dondlinger and Gregory Daggett, Jr.; great-grandchildren, Gavin and Dylan Porter, Sebastian Daggett, Addilyn and Brooklyn Dondlinger all of Maine; a niece, Kathy Balsley Gordian and her husband Chris; nephews, Charles and Scott Balsley all of Pennsylvania; and a nephew, Roger Prinky of Ohio.

The family would like to give special thanks to Teal Finley, Pap’s favorite caregiver, who was also a strong support for the family during his hospital stay.

In lieu of flowers, if it’s your will, please donate to your local animal shelter. Pap always told us to go enjoy our day.

The family would like to thank the Union Ambulance team for all their service, PBMC for their personable care, and to the Sussman House, a valuable asset to this community. Their compassion and ability to just be there was a blessing to the Balsley family.

A graveside service will be held early summer followed by a celebration of life. An announcement will be published at a later date.

To share a memory or condolence with the Balsley family, please visit their Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com. Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.