James Balsdon (1928-2019)


James Balsdon, 90, died early Sunday morning, June 23, at Woodland Memorial Hospital from a sudden illness. 

James “Jim” Balsdon was born October 29th, 1928 to Mildred and Harold Hamilton Balsdon in Arbuckle, California. Jim grew up on the family farm near Grimes, where he attended Grand Island Grammar School, going on to graduate from Thatcher in 1947. Jim then pursued higher education at UC Davis, majoring in Agriculture, and graduated in 1952. During his time at UC Davis, Jim became the Iota House President for the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. 

The day after graduating, Jim received his draft notice for the Korean War. Jim began his military service stationed at Fort Ord. After six months, Jim was transferred to the Toul-Rosières Air Base in France. Jim volunteered to attend Survey School in Germany before returning to France for the remainder of his service. 

After his military service, Jim returned to Colusa to begin farming at the Balsdon Ranch with his father in 1955. At the time, the Balsdon Ranch was primarily a wheat and barley farm. Under Jim’s leadership, the farm was improved with field leveling, irrigation, and fertilization; diversifying the ranch to include  rice, almonds, sugar beets, walnuts, row crops, and safflower.

Jim was involved in his community as a trustee of both District 108 for 37 years, serving as Board President, as well as the County Planning Commission for 17 years.  Jim also was President of the Farm Bureau and served his community through his active involvement in the Colusa Rotary Club and was a lifetime member of the Masonic Lodge since 1958. Jim could be found every Tuesday at the weekly  Rotary meeting for the last 60 years. Jim was on the Vestry of the St.Stephen’s Episcopal Church for 30 years.  

Jim actively tracked and predicted weather patterns for 64 years, providing valuable insight to farmers and never forgot to record a single day of rainfall. Everyone will miss his weather forecasts. Even at 90, Jim could be found driving his white Ford pickup to check on his fields or driving his red T-Bird to church every Sunday. His happiest place was in a boat, whether duck hunting, skiing, or traveling.

Jim was friendly and sincere with all he met.  He always had a joke or a kind word on hand at all times. He was a great friend, husband, father, and grandfather and will be deeply missed by his family and the community. 

Jim is preceded in death by his late-wife, Virginia Zinn Balsdon, and his sister Francis Balsdon Wilmarth. Jim is survived by his current wife, Judith Johnson Hubbard Balsdon, his sister Carolyn Balsdon Hiller (Stanley), his children, Howard Balsdon, Starr Balsdon West (Scott), and Caroline Balsdon Carbajal (Michael), as well as eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. 

A service will be held on Friday, June 28, at 10:00 AM at the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church located at 642 5th Street in Colusa.  A reception will follow at the Colusa Country Club. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Shriners Hospital, Development Office, Shriners Hospital-Northern CA, 2425 Stockton Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95817; or the Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, PO Box 1044, Colusa, CA 95932. ■

The Williams Pioneer Review has a small staff of one, covering all of Colusa County; but we’re proud to have the assistance of a large army of community contributors to extend our range and reach. This is one of those stories. If you have a story you would like to share, please email them to: news@colusacountynews.com or give us a call.