Norma 'Betty' BalatkaNovember 25, 1924 ~ March 25, 2016 (age 91)
Norma Elizabeth (Betty) Balatka (née Berst) passed away at Ross Memorial Hospital on Friday,
March 25, 2016, surrounded by those she loved. Betty was born in Woodstock, Ontario, on November 25, 1924, the first daughter of George and Pearl Berst, and sister to Alfred (deceased), Margaret, John, and Barbara. When she was a young girl, she loved to visit her grandmother in Bright, Ontario. As she matured into a woman, Betty gained the educational skills that allowed her to graduate from Woodstock General Hospital in 1952 as a Registered Nurse, which saw her flawlessly practice her vocation for over forty years. In 1952, at a YMCA dance in London, Ontario, Betty met Robert Balatka (from the Czech Republic), and on November 19, 1952, Betty and Bob married in Toronto at Old City Hall. Shortly later, Betty and Bob permanently settled in Toronto, having four children (Robert, John, Beth, and Thomas), all at Women's College Hospital. (This hospital was one of the many locations Betty shared her love and kindness toward the patients for whom she cared.) Mom and dad loved the outdoors, so much so that, in 1962, they acquired a summer cottage near Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe, where many hours of family fun and memories were created over several years. (Indeed, Betty and Bob loved the fishing, the swimming, the bright sun, and their playful children.)
Later, in 1992, Betty and Bob were prepared to retire, and, since they loved the great outdoors, they moved to the picturesque town of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. While here, Betty pursued her passion for crafts, knitting, crocheting, quilting, and rug hooking. (In fact, one day before leaving for her rug-hooking club, she left Bob a cheeky note on the kitchen table that read as follows: “Bob, I have gone hooking.” Yes, mother made many beautiful creations that still sit in our homes to this very day.) She also loved to cook—for others, but especially her own family. (Her grandson, Michael John Scott Weed, said at a very young age that Nanny (his term of endearment for her) made the best grilled-cheese sandwiches.) Furthermore, Betty loved all of nature and its glory, especially when spring would arrive, as it meant that she would begin to start seeing bears, deer, ferns, and trillium in her motorized visits, with her husband, through Nogies Creek (wherein she would listen to the songs of her favorite singer—Sarah Vaughn), and feeding shelled peanuts to the birds (e.g., blue jays, robins, etc.) that would gather outside her kitchen's sliding-glass door. (Outside of Bobcaygeon, she would travel to many other breathtaking locations, including parts of Key West, the Carolinas, Nova Scotia, Quebec, British Columbia, and California.) Betty was part of the human family for 91 years. We were on a journey with our dear mother, a journey of which you forged many happy memories. It is those memories that keep us close to you every single day. We know that you will continue to watch over us, mother. You were an inspiration that demonstrated to us how to love, respect, and take care of our fellow man, the environment, and all of life's creations. (For instance, on Christmas 2015, the moon was full, Betty looked up at it and said, “We must take care of the moon.”)
Betty is survived by her husband, Robert (Bob) Balatka, of 63 years, and her children (Robert Edward Balatka and his wife, Brenda Fletcher (Balatka), of Aurora; John David Balatka of Toronto; Elizabeth Ann Balatka (Weed) and her husband, Thomas Michael Weed, and her son, Michael John Scott Weed, of Toronto; and her youngest child, Thomas Jeffery Balatka, and his partner, Jamie Parsons, of Toronto). Thanks to the staff on the fourth floor and long-term care at Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay, Ontario, for their diligent and compassionate care for Betty. Here is to life, here is to love, here is to you. Always in our hearts.