Our first pastor

    Rev. Ronald H. Balsdon (minister of Parkwood Sept. 1964 - Mar. 1967)

    Ron was born on January 18, 1932 in Toronto. It is said that even from a young age Ron was filled with a passion for learning. His life would prove this to be the case. He graduated from high school in Stratford, Ontario, and obtained his first degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Detroit in 1954. The next year, he married his beloved Maxine and over the next eight years they had their four children; Heather, Debbie, Brett and Beth.

    Ron's strong desire for learning continued and he went on to earn a Masters of Automotive Engineering from the Chrysler Institute of Detroit in 1957. While in Detroit, Ron and Maxine became involved in Highland Park Presbyterian Church. This dynamic people of God would forever inspire Ron's perception of ministry and congregational life. It was during this time that Ron began to sense the Lord calling him into the ordained ministry and he subsequently enrolled in Knox College, Toronto. He graduated in 1960 and went to Kitimat, British Columbia, for his ordained missionary appointment.

    Ron left the charge to pursue more formal education with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He completed his Masters of Aeronautical Engineering in 1963.

    Though Ron's direction had moved away from congregational ministry, he and Maxine still found time to begin a seed church in their neighbourhood. It came to be called Parkwood Presbyterian Church. At the same time, Ron was busy pursuing an interest in education. He taught classes, day and night, for the School Board of Ottawa.

    In 1970, Ron accepted a position with CIDA and spent almost a decade in Zambia and Kenya. He earned his Doctorate of Education from the University of Nairobi in 1979.

    Ron then returned to Ottawa finding work at Algonquin College. In 1983, he accepted the position of Vice-Principal of Lethbridge Community College in southern Alberta. He took an active part in the congregation of St. Andrew's as well as the Presbytery of Calgary-MacLeod. From Lethbridge it was on to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, as Principal of the Provincial Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology.

    Ron re-entered active ministry in 1993 when he accepted a call to St. Andrew's, Quebec City. He was active in the courts of the Church and was Convener of the Service Agency Committee of our denomination. He was then called to Knox, Sooke, on Vancouver Island where he served until the time of his death.

    Ron Balsdon died on Monday January 4, 1999, in Sooke, British Columbia, just two weeks prior to his sixty-seventh birthday. Ron was a gifted and faithful servant of his Lord and our church. He has found rest after his sudden yet brief battle with cancer. His legacy lives on in those who love him and in the hearts and minds of others from many walks of life.

    Adapted from memorial record in the Acts & Proceedings of the 125th General Assembly of the PCC, 1999

 

(picture @ top: classroom at Parkwood Hills Public School where worship services were held 1964-1974)

 

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