11.3.2014.

Dušan Balić

Dušan Balić was born on 15th November, 1925 in Riđane, in Serbian Krajina, to parents Andrija and Simeona.  At the tender age of 15 he took up arms with his fellow Chetniks to fight for freedom and democracy, beliefs he held all his life.  Escaping capture by the Germans and surviving the battle of Padjene he, along with many of his brothers in arms, found a new life in Britain.

In 1950 he met and married his wife Gwendoline beginning a union that lasted over 63 years and was blessed with three children.  The family moved to Leicester in 1966 which enabled Dušan to re-involve himself with the Serbian community which included spells on the committees of the Association and local Church.  In fact Dušan and Gwendoline made the arrangements to have the church recognised in law to hold wedding ceremonies and their daughter, Jelena, was the first to be married thereafter.

He loved his country and some years later, when it was safe to do so, immediately took the opportunity to take his family back to his village and shared tales of his boyhood experiences.

Many will remember Dušan’s considerable D.I.Y. skills as he freely gave his time to his fellow Serbs to help with their house improvements, seeking no reward for himself, preferring simple acts of kindness to be a reward in themselves.  The rest of his time he devoted to his family, always putting their needs ahead of his own.

His retirement years were marred by poor health but his fighting spirit saw him overcome many of the challenges illness can bring.  Finally, however, on 17th February, 2014 his time came and he leaves behind his loving wife, Gwendoline; 3 children, Jelena, Alexandra and Andrija; their partners, Richard, David and Debbie and 2 Grandchildren, whom he loved so dearly, Christopher and Siân and the most recent family member Christopher’s wife, Didi.  

Also, he leaves behind a simple truth, that strength and courage can go hand in hand with gentleness, honesty and kindness.  

Dušan’s funeral was held at the Serbian Orthodox church of Saint George in Leicester on 3rd March.  The service was conducted by Father Radmilo Stokić and attended by Dušan’s family and friends, including some of the few remaining veterans who served with him.  Dušan was laid to rest at Gilroes Cemetery, Leicester.

May he rest in peace.

 


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