Sheila Ruth Balch
Sep 21, 2017 | 2369 views | 0 0 comments | 144 144 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Valley Cottage, NY- Sheila Ruth Balch, 78, known by many around the country as the “ raccoon lady,” died peacefully in her home on September 16. She was born in New York, NY, on April 26,1939, to Lillian Goldstein and Robert Lebowitz.

Mrs. Balch attended the Bronx High School of Science and was accepted at CCNY at the age of 16. She married David Balch and raised her two young sons in New York City before moving to Valley Cottage, NY, where she began her career in the breeding and raising of Alaskan Malamutes. She became the top winning breeder in the history of the breed, which culminated in numerous championships at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Because of her success, she was chosen as the representative of her breed for a Kal Kan television commercial. She became an international and Westminster dog show judge and traveled the world as a highly sought-after expert in her field.

Among her many talents and accomplishments, she was a champion on the game show “ Jeopardy” in the early 1970s and then asked to become a contestant again in the early 1990s. She was a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Mrs. Balch loved all animals ( especially raccoons), was an avid collector, a voracious reader, a world traveler, talented knitter and needlework crafter, and also a very high spirited, opinionated, and entertaining story teller. She left an indelible mark on all those who came into contact with her.

She was predeceased by her husband David on June 30, 2017, and leaves behind by her two sons, Marc Balch, of Wilmington, VT, and Eric Balch, of Mystic, CT; her daughters-in-law, Angel Balch and Brenda Balch; grandsons, Zachary, of Syracuse, NY, Cameron, of Chicago, IL, and Patrick, of Mystic, CT; granddaughter, Sarah, of Brooklyn, NY; and nieces, Allison Friedman and Dorian Pascoe, of New York.

The family will have a private memorial and Mrs. Balch requested her ashes be spread at the wildlife sanctuary of her dear friend and wildlife rehabilitator Annie Wilczak in upstate New York.

Donations in her name may be sent to the Windham County Humane Society.

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