Ann Balson Davies Speaks: Thirty years ago, my Father Gerald Balson started coming to Florida and discovered his love for shuffling. He soon became a Central District Pro from Avon Park, FL where he lived and shuffled during the winter. He also belonged to the Scugog Shuffling Club in Blackstock ON where I was fortunate enough to join him and learn the game he loved. When he passed away in 2009 at age 93 he was still enjoying the game. In 2012 my husband Bob and I arrived in Camp Inn and began to shuffle within the Park. One day two pro shufflers, Linda and Chester Sine convinced us that we were ready to compete in District Tournaments at the Amateur Level!! Our first tournament was at the Shuffleboard Club on East Main St. in Avon Park where we were welcomed by Ralph Day (then president) of Avon Park. Other players who provided strong support during this learning period, included Max and Ruth Tate, Larry and Ruth Brown, and long time shuffler Dick Davis!! 2016-17 has been a hallmark year for me. Not only did I progress from District Am to State Am, I earned the great pleasure to compete in the prestigious Reiny/Masters. I am already concentrating on my next goal, that being achieving Pro Status in the FSA (Florida Shuffleboard Assn.) Thank You, Stan, for letting me tell my story. Ann Balson Davies. 2017 03 17
Gerald’s passion for life was most in evidence when he was shuffling; he thoroughly enjoyed the game and until 2005 he was an active competitor on the Florida Central District Circuit as well as being among the best in his home club of Blackstock, Ontario.
Gerald did not limit his activities to shuffleboard. From a young man he had enjoyed music, enjoyed dancing, and was even known to enjoy some “good ole” homemade wine!! Gerald frequently brought a supply of his wine to our Windup Banquet in Blackstock and was not against offering a glass to those who dropped in to visit with him at Camp Inn, FL. This generosity of spirit, no pun intended, was typical.
In the late 1930s Gerald and his brothers sang on Radio Station CFRB (Toronto) when it was the radio station with the largest listening audience in Canada!! At about the same time he attended dances in the village of Columbus, ON and very early on in our relationship, he informed me that my Mother was one of his dancing partners!! When the war began, (WW II) Gerald’s competency at driving large construction equipment was put to good effect. He became an instructor and when he was transferred to Holland, he became a driver for the Officer Commanding!!
Notwithstanding his 90+ years, Gerald was quietly proud of the fact that he took no medication.
All Shufflers who knew Gerald will miss him. Condolences may be sent to Gerald’s daughter ANN GOEMANS <firstname.lastname@example.org> Ann’s address is 5525 Scugog St., Hampton. ON L0B 1J0
Stan McCormack of The Shuffler. 2009-08-04.