Lois Balfour was one of those lucky people who loved their work. And that was fighting for social justice. Whether negotiating or organizing or marching it was all good for her as long as she was building the Union. She managed all of that while also caring deeply for her dogs and her friends.
Lois was born in Putnam, Connecticut and graduated from Woodstock Academy and Connecticut College. She and her beloved mother Evelyn were active in the anti-war movement of the 1960’s and attended many national rallies, most memorably the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention.
Following college, Lois moved to Massachusetts, where she was hired by the Massachusetts Department of Public Welfare as a social worker. She became active in the Union, Local 509, SEIU. She was the first woman elected President of that organization in 1978 and subsequently worked for several other SEIU locals and the International Union. She returned to Local 509 in the late 1980’s to run Local 509’s successful campaign to represent the University of Massachusetts’s 1200 professional non-faculty workers.
In the early 90’s she moved to San Diego to work at Local 2028. In 1996, she was elected Secretary of the local as well as the Deputy Executive Director. Lois continued with the local as it transitioned to Local 221 and continued to provide mentoring and leadership at the local.
She was a delegate to the San Diego Central Labor Council and served on the advisory board of the San Diego Labor- Employee Relations association. She also taught Labor courses at the SD Community College.
Following her retirement from full-time Union duties Lois joined the San Diego Women’s Chorus and, though she knew her voice wasn’t the strongest, she loved making music with that wonderful group.
Lois will be deeply missed by close friends Mary Grillo, Nettie Fowler, Gerry Casey, beloved companion Tori, and many more whose lives she touched. She appreciated the kindness and support of so many of her neighbors in the Burlingame neighborhood of the City.
Memorial contributions in Lois’ name may be made to Best Friends Animal Society, 5001 Angel Canyon Rd., Kanab, Utah 84741
We hope to hold a memorial event for Lois’s Boston area friends in the near future. If you wish to be kept informed please e-mail Michael Grunko.