William J. “Willie” Balchus, age 92 formerly of South West Street, Shenandoah passed away Wednesday December 11, 2013 in Yuba City, California where he was currently residing with his son, Joseph “Sherman” Balchus and his wife, Brenda for the past eight years.
Born in Shenandoah on October 15, 1921 he was the son of the late Joseph and Elizabeth Zitkus Balchus.
Mr. Balchus was a decorated US Army World War II Veteran. He was one of eleven Prisoners of War who escaped being burned to death by Japanese guards at the Puerto Princesa Prison Camp. Nearly one hundred forty POWs lost theirs lives at what became known as the Palawan Massacre. He was a recipient of the Purple Heart as well as the Philippines Liberation Ribbon, the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Good Conduct Medal and the Philippines Defense Ribbon.
Willie was a member of St. Stanislaus Church, Shenandoah. He was an avid fisherman and thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors in Pennsylvania and California.
Preceding him in death in addition to his parents were his wife, the former Helen M. Wisniewski in 1989 and six sisters.
Surviving in addition to his son and daughter-in-law are one daughter, Carole Oshman of Stewartsville, NJ; six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Prayer and scripture services will be held Saturday 11:00 a.m. at Walukiewicz-Oravitz Fell Funeral Home, 132 S. Jardin St., Shenandoah. Rev. Msgr. Ronald C. Bocian, Pastor will officiate. Interment with military honors will follow in Our Lady of Fatima Cemetery, Shenandoah Heights.
Relatives and friends may call Saturday at the funeral home from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Walukiewicz-Oravitz Fell Funeral Home, Shenandoah is in charge of the arrangements.