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Balahura, Michael Gustin (Gus)

Michael Gustin Balahura (Gus) passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on July 3, 2021.

Gus was born on September 8, 1929 and grew up in a mining family in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia and followed his sister Mary (Ferraro) out to Nelson in the spring of 1946. He immediately went to work at the age of 16 for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a fireman, shoveling coal into the firebox of the steam engine. He later became a locomotive engineer and worked for C.P.R. out of Nelson until his retirement 42 years later in 1988. He loved being a railroad engineer.

He met and married Elaine (Schneider) in 1950 and they enjoyed 68 years of marriage. As a couple they made a great life together in Nelson. They square danced, had season tickets to the Leafs games and were active members of the United Church. They made great friends in Nelson. For their 25th wedding anniversary family and friends got them tickets to Hawaii. Gus was hesitant but fell in love with Hawaii and the couple traveled to and vacationed with friends in Hawaii 27 more times over the years. Elaine passed away in 2018. He greatly missed Elaine as they were rarely apart. They were good community members together.

Gus loved to play men’s softball. He was a first basemen and was renowned for the home runs he hit – He didn’t like to run so he would say, “If you hit a home run you can walk around the bases”.  He was also an avid fisherman and spent many hours trolling on Kootenay Lake with good friends Shorty Malacko and Bill Chapman. He was always up for a good game of cribbage and especially enjoyed the times when Elaine’s family would get together and the crib tournament ‘was on’.  He also coached minor hockey and baseball in Nelson and later in life started playing golf.

He was well loved and will be missed by son Michael (Brenda) Balahura of Castlegar and daughter Donna Roberts (Richard) of Princeton as well as grandchildren, Marissa Balahura (Jeremy), Brent Roberts (Marcie), Justin Balahura (Lindsay), and Danielle Krause (Darcy), and great grandchildren, Audrey, Austin, Autumn, Elaine, Malcolm and Cadence.

He was predeceased by wife Elaine, sister Mary and brother-in-law Mel Ferraro of Nelson, and brother-in-laws Frank Schneider, his wife Dorothy and Bill Schneider.

He is survived by sisters Florence and Ann of Toronto.

The family extends their gratitude to the wonderful health care professionals who supported both Gus and Elaine over the years and want to pay special tribute to their GP, Dr. Kevin McKechnie and specialist, Dr. Philip Malpass.

Gus was known for his sense of humour, his love of a good laugh and his willingness to help.

He was a good employee, a good community member, a good friend, a good husband, a good father, and a good grandpa. He really was an all-round ‘good guy’.

In lieu of flowers, friends who so wish may make memorial donations to the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation. www.klhf.org