William “Bill” George Balgoyen, 84

William “Bill” George Balgoyen, 84, of Allegan, passed away peacefully Thursday, May 21, 2020, at Wings Home in Allegan.

Born Dec. 28, 1935, in Allegan, he was the son of the late Marvin Thomas Balgoyen and Francis McConney Balgoyen and was the husband of Solveig “Tita” Balgoyen. Bill was born the middle of five children in the farmhouse where he lived his entire life.

A class of 1954 Allegan High School graduate, he went on to serve our county honorably in the U.S. Naval forces for two years before returning home to the family fruit farm.

Bill met the love of his life, Tita, when she was visiting family next door after traveling across the sea from Norway.

Bill took over the family farm in his early twenties after the unexpected passing of his father. He and Tita purchased Orchard Hill Farm and would go on to raise many varieties of fruit as well as owning a herd of quality brood cattle.

Bill was recognizable in a crowd with his signature polka dot welding cap and a warm smile. He strove hard to provide for his family in an agricultural business where mother nature and the market can be very unpredictable. He would prevail through many tough times with his faith and family by his side as one year can be a bumper crop and the next a complete freeze out. Bill’s niche was raising the best local fruit as demonstrated every year by his loyal customers. His Red Haven peaches were simply second to none and, among the many varieties of apples, of note was the Northern Spy—simply perfect for pie making.

Not only did Bill and Tita’s five children learn the value of hard work growing up on the farm, numerous local teenagers and young adults did as well. Cherry picking time was a favorite time of year with all hands on deck through July. Bill cared about all who worked on the farm, young and old alike.

Bill possessed a deep Christian faith. He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church where he and Tita attended regularly and many times served as ushers. The two also enjoyed traveling in later years with trips to Norway, Australia, China and Italy. One of their last big trips together was his bucket-list trip to drive from Michigan to the west coast where he was stationed in the Navy to Arizona and home.

He and Tita would enjoy many winters enjoying the sunshine while visiting family in Arizona; he really looked forward to that time of year as he loved the heat!

Bill also served Valley Township for many years on the Board of Review and was a member of the Allegan Masonic Lodge No. 111 for 52 years.

In addition to his beloved wife, Tita, Bill is survived by his children, Eric (Amy) Balgoyen, Ken Balgoyen, Marvin Balgoyen, Paul Balgoyen and Nora Balgoyen-Williams; his brother LJ Balgoyen; sister Laurel (Art) Teusink; and eight grandchildren.

Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers and sisters-in law, Tom (Barb) Balgoyen and Dean (Ruthie) Balgoyen; and his son-in-law, Don Williams.

The family is planning a celebration of life memorial to be scheduled sometime this summer. Our deepest gratitude to the hospice staff for your caring services.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wings of Hope Hospice, 530 Linn St., Allegan, MI 49010 or at www.wingsofhopehospice.com.

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