John J. Balfour Jr., 84, design engineer, veteran


John J. Balfour Jr., a design engineer and World War II veteran, died of cancer Friday at Northwest Hospital Center. The Randallstown resident was 84.

Born in East Greenwich, R.I., Mr. Balfour had been studying engineering at what is now the University of Rhode Island when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He served in the South Pacific as a bombardier and navigator, earning the Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters.

After the war, Mr. Balfour studied at Rhode Island School of Design and soon joined the Grinnell Fire Protection Co. He was transferred to the company's Baltimore location, where he worked for 38 years, retiring as district manager.

Retirement gave Mr. Balfour the chance to indulge in his passion for sailing. He and his wife, the former Shirley Miller, bought a sailboat, named the Michar. He was sail fleet captain at the Maryland Yacht Club.

"We had many good years sailing on the bay," Mrs. Balfour said.

Mr. Balfour, a longtime member and frequent officer in Rotary, did not miss a weekly meeting in 25 years with clubs in Baltimore and later in Sykesville, Mrs. Balfour said.

"He enjoyed working on whatever project the club was involved in," she said.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Haight Funeral Home & Chapel in Sykesville.

In addition to his wife of 61 years, survivors include a son, John J. Balfour III of Randallstown; a daughter, Linda S. Birch of Hampstead; two granddaughters; and five great-grandchildren.

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