Marian Emily Balster

Marian Emily Balster, 90, nee Holsten, of Concordia, Mo., passed away on April 7, 2023.

Marian met her husband Don in Concordia while he was there attending the pre-seminary. They were married June 5, 1955. She earned a nursing degree and also supported his ministry, initially in Layton, Utah, followed by 37 years in Hinsdale at Redeemer Lutheran Church.

After their son Mark died in 1973, both Donald and Marian were instrumental in launching all the US-based chapters of The Compassionate Friends, a bereavement group for parents who have lost a child. Marian was in a leadership role for 10 years until the mid-1980s. The organization now has more than 600 chapters in the US and abroad.

One of Marian's greatest legacies with TCF was influencing Congress to establish an annual remembrance ceremony, which is held at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday in December in the U.S. and around the world.

Upon their retirement and after snow-birding for several years, in 2014 Marian and Donald chose Village on the Isle in Venice, Fla., as their home.

They enjoyed the friendship of many people in Village on the Isle and their church, Emmanuel Lutheran. Marian was active in the Dorcas Quilting Mission and was their most senior "quilt finisher."

She is survived by her husband of 68 years, Donald Balster; her children, Linda (Bryan) Roberts, Timothy (Robin) Balster and Tony Balster; her grandsons, Douglas and William Balster; her sister, Helen (Mel) Heinz; and her niece, Debbie (Joe) Gaglio.

She was preceded in death by her son, Mark Balster.

A memorial service was held April 19 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice, Fla.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Emmanuel Lutheran (to the Dorcas Quilting group in memory of Marian Balster) 790 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice FL 34285, or to Redeemer Lutheran Church (Covenant Endowment Fund in memory of Marian Balster) 139 E. First St., Hinsdale, IL 60521.