Retired Seattle Police Officers Association

Last Ring

Take a moment to remember our friends and associates who have passed.

Mike Balser #3393, retired Seattle Police Sergeant passed away on January 29, 2017. He was 71 years of age upon passing.

Mike was an Air Force brat. He was born at Fort Rucker, Alabama. As his father was transferred all over the world, the family frequently followed. However, Mike remained a Crimson Tide fan. He graduated from Duluth High in Minnesota, in 1964. Rather than be drafted, he joined the Regular Army.

He went to Basic in 1964, then OCS in 1966. He got married in 1967. In 1968 he was deployed to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry, in time for the Tet Offensive. After a year, he was awarded several decorations and purple hearts. As he marshalled out of the Army, as a captain in late 1969 at Fort Lewis, he applied to the Seattle Police Department.

Mike hired on the Department in April 1970. He worked in the North and Central Precincts. Eventually he settled in Queen Sector, working with Dick Schweitzer #3041, who had just lost his partner Mike Severance #2866 to the South Precinct due to Schoener’s #1319 5-year mandatory transfer program. How Mike and Dick got to know each other was as handball competitors. They continued to play against each other during their 11-year partnership working Queen Anne. They studied together for the 1987 sergeant’s exam. They both made it off that list. Mike was a Patrol Sergeant for the next four years. In 1992, he transferred to Vice to supervise the General Investigations Squad. Four years later, he retired after 26 years of service.

Now for the rest of the story. He always was bragging about being a gourmet cook. His signature dish was Mac and Cheese – the only dish in his repertoire. He was a published military historian. He authored articles about ancient commanders and their campaigns: from the Spartans at Thermopile battling the Persians, to General Ridgway in Korea. Along with this, he was a collector of antique military memorabilia. In his spare time, he loved to hike and fish. But in retirement, he did not have much spare time. His dad was in poor health so came to live with Mike. He became his dad’s full-time care taker for several years. When his father died, Mike’s wife’s failing health forced him to be her full-time care giver. After she passed away in 2003, Mike reestablished contact with the veterans he served alongside. About this time, he got a serious lung infection from the old shrapnel still in his chest cavity. A portion of his lung had to be removed to stem the infection.

Somehow during these years, Mike got on the ACLU’s donation list. He repeatedly called and repeatedly wrote the organization to cease dunning him for money. Nothing worked. Mike fed the racoons around his house, so he scooped up some of their poop, put it in the envelope with the donation form, and mailed it back to the ACLU. Problem solved – no more dunning requests.

Mike is survived by his son Matt, who is a Redmond Firefighter.