Paul Michael BALSON

May 27, 1940December 31, 2018

Colonel Paul Michael Balson, MD, MPH passed away peacefully on December 31st at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, embraced by the love of his family. Dr. Balson was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on May 27, 1940, the son of Paul John and Petronella Balson. He was an avid student, eagle scout, athlete, and friend of the town's many animals. Paul attended La Salle University on scholarship, where he was a radio announcer for the school's sports teams, and the University of Pennsylvania's Medical School, graduating in 1967. A cadet in ROTC, Paul joined the army as a trauma surgeon and was assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI, where he was honored as the top medical intern. His interest in the mental healing of his soldiers led Paul from surgery to psychiatry. On his next assignments, to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC and Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, he studied and worked as a clinical psychiatrist. Over his twenty-four year military career, Paul served as Co-Chief of the Defense Department's Combat Medical Work Group, Co-Chief of the Defense Department's Medical Information Technology Research Group, Chief of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at the US Army Academy of Health Sciences in San Antonio, and Chief of Psychosomatic Medicine at Letterman Army Medical Center.

As Paul prepared to retire from active military service, he turned to public health, earning a Masters of Public Health at UCLA, graduating maxima cum laude. He was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at Tulane's School of Public Health and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at LSU's School of Medicine. While in San Francisco and New Orleans, Paul was a vital member of the team of medical professionals fighting the AIDS epidemic. He focused on the public health crisis and how to heal a population being marginalized when they most needed medical care. Later in his career, Paul spent many productive years working as a senior medical consultant for the state of California.

Paul served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Health Education and was a member of the American College of Psychiatrists. He published over forty papers and oversaw a dozen research grants, particularly in the areas of AIDS research, mental health, and natural disaster recovery. He also served as an expert witness in legal cases involving public health matters.

Paul is survived by his devoted wife of 52 years, Bernice, son Paul John II and daughter Allison, and two beautiful grandchildren, Brennan and Phoebe. All who knew Paul will miss his profound wisdom, insight, humor and empathy. He set a life-long example of hard work, love, and devotion to his country and the well-being of others.

In lieu of flowers, please honor Paul by making a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in his name at


Paul Michael BALSON

have a memory or condolence to add?


January 23, 2019

I was colleague with Paul while at LSU Health S ciences Center in New Orleans. I have also been his CPA since 2003 upon retiring for LSUHSC.
In all my professional life, I have never met a man with greater character and honor and love of country .
Ours was a profound relationship upon which he considered me an extended member of his family. He often said that he wanted to support his country financially and did not mind paying more tha his fair share not what I hear in my profession normally.

I am going to miss a dear friend. I will ask Jesus and the Virgin Mary to pray for his soul.. May God bless you and may you Rest In Peace.

Christine Skirmuntt

January 16, 2019

I am a neighbor of Paul and Bernice. When I remember Paul, I see him on his morning walks at about 6:30 AM. This past spring I renovated my front yard landscape and we start early while it was still cool. I look forward to seeing Paul as he walked past my house during his early-morning walks. Sometimes I would even time my start so that I would be able to meet him. He was warm and generous and such a gentleman. I enjoyed our conversations and found him inspirational in his perseverance. My little dog, Daisy, grew to recognize Paul and would always greet him when she was with me. Dogs know. May perpetual Light shine upon you Paul!
Christine Skirmuntt

Reyna Menjivar

January 11, 2019

I had the pleasure of being his caregiver for a while. He was the sweetest guy. He always walked me out to the front door every day after work and would say goodbye. Paul - you will always be in my heart. Rest in peace.

Susan Lyon

January 8, 2019

Dear Balson Family,
I was so very sorry to hear the news of Paul's passing. He will always be remembered as a lovely and lively man and will be sorely missed by all that new him.
It has been a real pleasure to have shared stories, wine and break bread at your family ranch.

Wishing you all peace and loving memories,

Victor Thorne

January 8, 2019

I was friends with Paul and his family during his tenure in New Orleans. Pauls wit and intelligence were instrumental in our morning coffee gatherings at Croissant d'Or, a ritual that goes on to this day, his spirit always present...and missed. His kindness and dedication were admired by us all, and with his beloved family we mourn his passing.

David and Elizabeth Tolley

January 7, 2019

Every time we walk to the barn your star will remind us of the beautiful man you are.

Ann Maderic

January 6, 2019

Bernice and family...we share a great loss at this time....everyone in the family liked and respected Paul...Bernice please take care of ur self...I miss my sister dearly she was such a good friendπŸ’πŸ’πŸ’πŸ’

Stephanie Solga

January 6, 2019

Bernice & Family,
Bob and I are devastated to learn of Paul's death. We have such wonderful memories of family togetherness through times of joy and sadness. One special memory is the trip to Solvakia.

Know that you and the family are in our thoughts and prayers,

Love & blessings,
Stephanie & Bob Solga

Janine Watkins

January 6, 2019

Masters of excellence have a subtle essence, and a depth too profound to comprehend. Tao Te Ching chapter15

Although i did not know Paul personally very well, i felt his depth of character through Bernice and her whole family. After reading about his remarkable life and contributions to medicine and humanity, I can understand how his thoughts influenced his lovely family.
A life well lived...

Blessings and Peace to Bernice and Family