Gyneth Susan Ingalls Balfour


Gyneth Susan Ingalls Balfour, 100, who was passionate about family history and genealogy, died Jan. 8, 2021. Susan was born Oct. 6, 1920, to Guy G. and Myrtle Bunker Ingalls on Fords Prairie near Centralia, Wash. The oldest of three sisters, she grew up on Lincoln Creek and in Galvin, Wash., where her father owned a garage and gas station. All three girls learned to pump gas, make change and welcome the customers.

Susan graduated from Centralia High School in 1937, and then from Centralia Business College where she learned bookkeeping. She went to work for Gesler-McNiven in 1939, a furniture store in Centralia. The family had a plan for putting the daughters through business school. Her parents paid tuition for Susan, who started working and paid it for her sister, Lulu Jo. Jo in turn paid for Jacqueline, who repaid their parents to complete the cycle.

In 1943, Susan met Jay M. Balfour, a sailor on leave from the United States Navy. He was visiting his mother in Galvin. They married Sept. 3, 1944. They lived for a time in California, mostly in the Bay Area. They returned to the Northwest and settled in Hillsboro in 1964, after Jay retired from the Navy. They moved to Vancouver in 1985. Jay died in 2011.

Susan kept busy researching genealogy at Sutro Library on the University of San Francisco campus when she lived in South San Francisco. She was a member of Daughters of Colonial Wars, Daughters of the American Revolution (David Hill Chapter), auxiliary member of Fort Vancouver Chapter of DAR, Sons and Daughters of Oregon Pioneers, Pioneer Daughters of Washington, and St. Joseph Church in Vancouver.

She is survived by her daughter, Janet Cleaveland (David) of Vancouver; Clark Ingalls Balfour (Mary Beth) of Sherwood; and six grandsons, Raymond Cleaveland of Seattle., John B. Cleaveland of Portland, Ruben Cleaveland (Sheri) of Hood River, David Balfour (Jessica) of Sherwood, Michael Balfour (Teegan) of Tigard, and Joseph Balfour (Cara) of Seattle. She has five great-grandchildren, Selah Lorraine Cleaveland and Benjamin David Cleaveland of Hood River, Hudson Cruz Balfour and Parker June Balfour of Seattle, and Bruce Simon Balfour of Sherwood.

A celebration of Susan’s life will be at a later date.