Alex Balberde ’57 never knew a stranger. It was this rare ability to connect with people that made him so beloved. He was privileged to live a long life and was thrilled to be the head of his family, along with the love of his life, Diane, to whom he was married for 59 years. Together, they had four loving sons: Steve, Mike, Jeff, and Matt; daughters-in law who he loved like his own: Eileen, Leigh, and Heather; and the pride and joy of his later years, his grandchildren: Will, Andy, Ansley, Allie, Elizabeth, and Josh. Born in Honomu, Hawaii, on July 28, 1934, Alex grew up on the Big Island with his parents Mary and Alex Sr. and his sisters and brother, Sebbie, Margaret, and Lawrence. While finishing up college at SCU, Alex met Diane Young: “I saw her walking by and knew I had to meet her.” They were married four short months later in 1958 in Winters, Diane’s hometown. Alex immediately began his first career in the U.S. Army, serving in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, and in Europe as an Army helicopter pilot. Humble by nature, you would never know that Alex earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism, The Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, the Air Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal. Diane and Alex raised their four sons in the U.S. and Europe, finally settling in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1971. Alex served his community as a youth sports coach, a volunteer for the Robinson Boosters, and through his church, St. Mary of Sorrows. In his spare time, Alex earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Upon retirement from the U.S. Army, he began a successful second career in the private sector. While in Fairfax, Alex was finally able to pursue his passion for golf. He was cool under pressure, sinking impossible putts, making holes in one and shooting his age more times than anyone could count! His golf circle included men, women, and children. Alex loved golfing with his grandsons and was a longtime volunteer for the CCF Junior Golf Program. He was a great instructor on the course, dispensing valuable and helpful advice to all in a positive and encouraging way unless, of course, he was playing against you—and then you were on your own! Alex was always ready to play golf, whether it was at his home course, the Country Club of Fairfax, or in Hawaii, where he and Diane lived for half of each year. Alex loved his home state of Hawaii, and his “Big Kahuna” license plate was known to many. Alex was an enthusiastic storyteller, and he loved to listen to and remember everyone’s personal story. His grandchildren loved to listen to “PopPop’s schtick,” and Alex could tell a joke that would make you cry with laughter. Not always because he got the joke right, but because he was laughing so hard he couldn’t finish it! Competitive by nature, he loved a good discussion. He delighted in playing the devil’s advocate. More than anything, Alex made his family, his friends, and his acquaintances feel special because he was truly interested in their stories and in their lives. He had a genuine and caring interest in people. Alex passed away on 26 May 2018. He loved God, family, and country and leaves behind cherished family and friends. He lived his life to its fullest, and treasured his beloved Diane, his family, and his friends. He was truly an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know and love him. It is with great sadness that we say “Aloha” to our Alex, Dad, and PopPop.

08 Nov 2018