Terry Lee Balkan
March 13, 1945 – October 7, 2021
Terry Lee Balkan answered his Lord’s calling October 7, 2021. Terry was born March 13, 1945 in Renton, Washington to Sylvia (Hauge) and Gus Balkan. His family including older brother Mike moved to Vashon Island, Washington enjoying a humble life working on the Hauge farm while Gus worked at Boeing. Near the time of his father’s passing, Sylvia packed up the boys relocating to Longview, Washington with the support of family to raise her two sons. Terry often shared fond memories of their time on 15th Avenue reflecting on his Uncle Mil’s guidance and the two brothers’ rambunctious ways claiming to his own two sons that he was a “greaser” which would come as a surprise to those close to Terry.
Terry graduated from Mark Morris High School in 1963, then attended Lower Columbia College where he met and married, Betty (Combs) Balkan. It was during their time at LCC that they welcomed their first child Shelley Balkan (Hans-Christian) in 1965. Terry was determined to make a meaningful difference in the lives of his family and the young couple managed to keep his academics on course with an undergraduate from Portland State University. Terry’s entrepreneurial spirits were evident early on when he made the choice to work instead of turning in a final paper achieving his MBA all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
His business acumen was recognized immediately as a young man. He would say, “Find out what you enjoy, then find out what people need help with and you won’t work a day in your life”. He was blessed with an ownership position in Welch’s Men’s Wear and many in our community still recall his time at United Furniture. During this time, he and Betty brought two more children into their home, Tony (Ari) and Corey (Julie) Balkan. This was also when a friend suggested Terry consider real estate. Knowing he couldn’t afford it, Terry made offers on 13 houses and that’s where his story really started to cook. Working as a real estate broker, Terry started Balkan Properties & Balkan Investment Company where they bought and sold property and contracts creating a cache of investment properties that he managed until his passing.
In 1985, Terry married Barbara who would become his ultimate life partner. The marriage also blessed him with two additional daughters, Kim (Mike) Nelson and Jackie Benjamin. The culmination of the two families could easily be recognized in any episode of the Brady Bunch and Terry was favored by all.
As the children set out one-by-one on their own journeys, Terry started to truly hone his relationship with our Lord. His life was not without challenges and all around him could see how his faith was driving his peace. He and Barbara shared in their faithful journey and the two were inseparable. Being together was the pinnacle of Terry’s life.
With children and grandchildren soundly positioned in their lives, Terry and Barbara enjoyed their faith, golf, and an open map to travel enjoying new places and all types of people they met along the way.
Terry is preceded in death by his father Gus, mother Sylvia, and brother Mike. He is survived by his wife Barbara, daughters Shelley (Hans-Christian) Mez, Kim (Mike) Nelson, Jackie Benjamin, and sons Tony (Ari) Balkan, and Corey (Julie) Balkan. Grandchildren include Emily, Annie, Natalie, Alex, Christian, Emma, Macie, Kelcie and great-granddaughter Harper.
Terry’s philanthropy was vast enjoying the accomplishments of so many local organizations and their causes. He was proud to instill participation and contribution in his family recognizing faith and community.
Celebrate Terry’s life in your own unique way with the theme of understanding, forgiveness, and our Lord’s Blessings.
Service arrangements being handled through Dahl-McVicker Funeral Home.