Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Most Interesting Man in My World

From age six he wanted to be a doctor.  He was the son of Harry (a brilliant man in his own right) and spending his teenage years in The Great Depression meant thrift and hard work came naturally to him - as did academics, which he truly loved.  He skipped at least two grades, entering the U of Alberta at age 16 and graduating in the middle of WWII.  His ship landed in Italy, but he kept soldiers of both sides alive as a member of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps all the way to Holland and Armistice Day.  His first wife bore him three children, but died of cancer all too soon.  His second wife, an attractive and vivacious widow, fulfilled him in many other important ways.  The two of them travelled extensively, played endless games of bridge, and kept up with a large retinue of friends and relatives across the continent.  Always the perfect gentleman, he was a stickler for manners, a voracious reader, a proud Rotarian, and lifelong friend of academia.  His patients are legion, and their regard for his intelligence, tact and professionalism knows few bounds even to this day.  He was the consummate physician.  When I suggested that my generation lived in the best of times - never having experienced war or want - he disagreed and extolled the virutes of his own nine decades as having been the best period in all of human history.  He loved his life and his times.  George Sigurd Balfour, 1920-2010.  Truly, The Most Interesting Man in My World.