Claire Philip Balderston

Balderston—Claire Philip Balderston, 84, on June 20, 2023, in Knox Township, Ohio. Phil was born on July 26, 1938, to Kenneth Raymond and Alma Agnes (née Machacek) Balderston near Alburnett, Iowa. He was the second of three sons.

Phil earned degrees in the biosciences from Iowa State and Pennsylvania State Universities. He served with the U.S. Pacific Fleet and served in Latin America under the care of American Friends Service Committee.

On October 15, 1966, Phil married Joyce Ann Moore, daughter of Frank Gifford and Ella Jane (Lewis) Moore, at Whittier (Iowa) Meeting. Phil and Joyce moved to what would become their family farm in Knox Township, Holmes County, Ohio. They were members of Wooster (Ohio) Meeting for the remainder of their lives.

Phil was engaged in various aspects of agriculture his entire life. He loved his family, and he loved the land. He was perpetually inspired by God’s gift of humor and music to humankind. Meaningful artists and works that influenced him included composer Antonín Dvořák, writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau, Dominick Argento’s “Walden Pond” arrangement (1996), Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” (1913), and John Cardina’s Lives of Weeds (2021).

Those who knew Phil within Wooster Meeting remember his simple and unequivocal kindness and his compassionate feelings toward everyone and every good cause. Those in the meeting recall the wisdom Phil had developed by holding closely to Friends testimonies. He kept business meetings grounded, especially at times when others might have decided too hastily or made a decision that was not quite in keeping with Friends’ tradition.

Phil and Joyce were the link with countless individuals who had come through the meeting starting in its earliest days in the 1950s. Phil and Joyce shared the serenity of their rural life and their beautiful home (built by Phil with the assistance of dedicated friends) with Wooster Meeting and Lake Erie Yearly Meeting by hosting retreats and youth events there over the decades. Whether in meeting or giving a tour on his farm, Phil was a teacher. He taught by example, and he taught by storytelling that was actually instruction.

Phil was predeceased by his parents, Kenneth and Alma Balderston; and two brothers, Keith Kenneth and Randal Wayne.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Balderston; and two children, Eric Balderston and Beth Balderston. At his request, a natural burial took place in the Highfields Cemetery located on their family farm.

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