D. MICHAEL BALMER
D. Michael Balmer, 65, died at home surrounded by the family who adored him, on Feb. 9, 2015, and finally met the Savior he loved, face to face.
Michael was born in Duluth to George and Bernadine Balmer. He attended Proctor High School before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in 1967, where he served in combat in Vietnam.
Upon returning to Minnesota, he married Barbara Johnson and they had two beautiful, stellar daughters together.
In 1981, he married the love of his life, Julie Ann (Sooter) LePine, after a whirlwind long-distance courtship. He became a devoted, loving father to her two young daughters, and they made their home in Duluth's Lester Park neighborhood. In 1982, Michael and Julie welcomed a child together, Michael's fifth daughter.
Michael was a skilled carpenter with boundless enthusiasm for ambitious projects and hard work. Michael was a lifelong fisherman and deer hunter who loved Minnesota's north woods. He enjoyed bird watching, building, traveling, flower gardening, and spoiling his schnauzers Edith and Millie.
He was unceasingly generous, was a lover of sausage, movie musicals, and the Minnesota Twins, but he considered his wife, children, and grandchildren to be his greatest treasures.
Everyone who knew Michael loved him, and what he was best known for was his unwavering faith in Jesus. Even when no one was watching, the worship in his heart spilled over as he whistled and sang to the Lord while he worked. Michael's faith in Christ never faltered, despite a decade of Parkinson's disease, which slowly diminished his ability to walk and talk. Although his speaking voice was barely audible, he could sing loudly and clearly.
His decision to follow Christ at age 30 transformed Michael's life and gave him the boldness to point others to the Savior he served. That enduring love spread to his children and grandchildren, and established a legacy of Christianity that he prayed would continue for generations to come.
Michael would want anyone reading this to know that sure hope is found only in Jesus, that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, that His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, and great is the faithfulness of God.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Bernie Balmer.
He is survived by his grateful wife Julie; his five daughters Buffy (Bob) Rauner of Prior Lake, Daphne (Joe) Corbett of Red Wing, and Sharon (Chris) McMahon, Carolyn (Jeremy) Dick, and Sara Balmer, all of Duluth; grandchildren Emma, Bryce, Jordan, Josie, Cullen, Eleanor, Margaret, Louisa, Clara, Elijah, Vivienne, Audrey, and Miriam; and Michael's sister Patricia (Joe) Wotruba of Knife River.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred, to Compassion International or to The Minnesota Veterans Home in Silver Bay, where Michael received loving care from the dedicated staff.
VISITATION: 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at The River Church, 1902 E. 4th Street, Duluth, with funeral services following at 11:00 a.m. Interment at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 218-727-3555.