John Balmer

PENINSULA — John Hugh Balmer died April 25, 2019. John was born in Seattle on Oct. 25, 1949, to Mary McEvers Balmer and Bert Balmer. Six years later his brother Jim was born. When John was age 11 the family adopted his sister, Kelly Balmer, now Nelson.

In 1959 the family moved to Redwood City, Calif., and then in 1961 they moved to Fresno, Calif. In 1964 the family moved to Mill Valley (Marin County), Calif., where John attended Tamalpais High School. During the Marin years, John studied piano and composition and was part of the Marin County Shakespeare Festival and the Mountain Play on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin, as both conductor and composer. He later moved to Colorado and joined the Doug Kershaw Band as the keyboard player. He toured with them as the opening act for many of the Rolling Stones USA concerts in 1978. The band was also featured on Austin City Limits.

In 1979 John returned to Seattle where he attended classes at the University of Washington, was a cabdriver and worked at various other jobs to support his musicianship, including a courier service and managing a pie shop at Pike Place Market.

John found religion in 1988 and especially enjoyed the philosophy of faith and the fellowship of the church. And, of course, he got to play the church organ during services.

John worked for King County Metro from 1993 to 2011. He then retired and spent his time in Seattle or on the Long Beach Peninsula, where he found a community of friends and fellowship before he died there on April 25, 2019.

John’s parents predeceased him. He is survived by his brother Jim, his sister Kelly and a multitude of relatives and friends, all of whom miss him.

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