Margaret (Peg) Truman Balow passed away on April 11, 2017 at her home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The daughter of Margaret Helen and Sinclair Ernest Truman, Peg was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 1928, the eldest of four children: Beverly Joan, Robert Sinclair, and Stephen Andrew. Peg worked while a student at Mackenzie High School, one favorite job being a drugstore “soda jerk,” which allowed her to indulge in what were to become life-long favorite treats--hot fudge sundaes and potato chips. After graduating from high school, Peg completed two years of education at Hillsdale College, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa sorority, and where she met her future husband, Ross Marvin Balow. Taking a break from college, Peg went to work for Ford Motor Company, where she continued to work after marrying Ross on December 19, 1952, while he completed medical school and his residency.
With her husband’s career as a radiologist underway, Peg left Ford Motor to concentrate on what would become her second career as a devoted mother, giving birth to five children: Carol Joan, Brad Emory, Brian Ross, Anne Margaret, and Craig Marvin. This began a period of her life filled not only with the endless activities and responsibilities that five children generate but also with extensive travel to such exotic locations as Africa, Russia, Europe, and the Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific region. Her travels also took her to less exotic but equally exciting places, including numerous trips to Canada to visit her many aunts, uncles, and cousins, and to Florida to visit our Grandpa Jim. Family, close by and far away, was always a priority in Peg’s life. Despite a full schedule as a wife and mother, Peg found time to volunteer for such organizations as Recording for the Blind, Community Living Centers, and various associations supporting the special needs community, a commitment to which she felt called because of her daughter Carol’s diagnosis with Williams Syndrome.
Once her children were old enough, Peg’s love of learning and previous success in both the academic and professional arenas called her back to the classroom and the boardroom. She returned to work at Ford Motor Company as a highly-respected Executive Secretary, while at the same time resuming her college studies at Wayne State University, from where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with Honors in 1983. After retiring from Ford in 1985, she spent the next few years enjoying more travel, visiting those of her children whom had moved out of state and spending time with those who were still close by.
After losing Ross when he passed away on September 27, 1987, Peg appreciated the fact that there was still a lot of life left to live, including her children’s marriages and grandchildren yet to come. She was blessed with ten grandchildren, with each of whom she had a unique and special relationship, and all of whom she was extremely proud and loved immensely—and they loved her back just as much. While being a mother of five had certainly filled her earlier life with activities, being a grandmother of ten did so in a far more carefree and lighthearted way, as she was able to enjoy them without the responsibility of raising them. This time of her life was truly one of Peg’s happiest, and she was constantly on the go attending her grandchildren’s sporting events, dance recitals, first Communions, school activities, vacation trips and simply spending time with them at family get-togethers and holidays. Peg’s grandchildren not only provided an unending supply of fun and lots of love, it was a great source of joy to her as she watched her own children come into their own as wonderful parents and responsible adults.
Apart from her life as “Nana,” (and yes, still as “Mom”), Peg continued to pursue her own individual interests as well. She joined the First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham, where she served as a Deacon and became involved in several groups and activities, including becoming a member of PEO and participating on a mission trip to Sitka, Alaska. She volunteered for several years at the Birmingham Community House and continued to travel extensively, visiting her children or going on cruises and tours with friends. At home, Peg delighted in gardening, and in keeping with her ongoing commitment to learning, completed the Master Gardener Program in 1995. She loved feeding and watching the birds in her backyard, particularly the goldfinches, always with her Guide to the Birds of Michigan close by to identify any newcomers she didn’t recognize. She loved reading (especially British mysteries and the classics), watching good television, especially PBS and golf, doing the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle, playing Free Cell on the computer, cheering on the Detroit Tigers, and celebrating all holidays, especially Christmas. In fact, Peg delighted in just about everything, from a good cup of coffee to a Broadway show. But her greatest love and passion by far were for her friends and especially for her family, which expanded when she married Jack Robinson in July of 2008, bringing four more children and a sister into her life: daughters Jan and Jackie, sons Jim and John, and sister, Lucille. Jack and Peg were active members of the First Presbyterian Church of Brighton and enjoyed many special travel adventures together, with trips to Florida, Petoskey, Nova Scotia, and Switzerland. Jack also introduced Peg to the many traditions his family celebrated as part of its Swedish heritage.
Peg is survived by her loving children Carol, Brad (and wife Karin), Brian (and wife Karen), Anne (and husband Joe), and Craig (and wife Lori); her grandchildren Alison, Annie, Christopher, Grace, Jack, Jim, Lindsay, Luke, Nicholas, and Russell; her brothers Bob (and wife Carole) and Steve (and wife Pam); her Aunt Helen; her nieces and nephews Alex, Courtney, Jason, Kelsey, Lisa, and Megan; her cousins Jim, Barb, and Al; and her loving Robinson family: Jack, Jan, Jackie, Jim, John, and Lucille. And in addition, the many other spouses whom she embraced as part of her family as well.
A private Memorial Service will be held on May 22, 2017. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Peg may be made to The Salvation Army, Hospice of Michigan, the American Diabetes Association, and Community Living Centers.
Peg possessed a special gift that turned ordinary things into extraordinary pleasures. In the words of a dear friend, “She was a well-loved woman.”
And she still is.