Real Joseph Armand Balthazar, 78, passed away on Aug. 20, 2010 while hiking near Horsehoe Lake.
Passionate about skiing, climbing, hiking, biking, and nature, he discovered Mammoth Lakes in 1966 and became a devoted resident for the next 54 years.
Born in St. Albans, Vt. January 27, 1932, near the French Canadian border, Real, his two sisters and brother were raised by his mother, in the midst of the depression, after his fatherâ€™s sudden death in 1937.
Educated in the Vermont Catholic school system, he was always a stellar student. In 1952, he was drafted by the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean War. Fate intervened on the day he was to be shipped out to Korea. At the last minute, he was reassigned to serve as an interpreter in Europe because of his fluency in French, instead of to Korea, where his unit, he would later learn, was entirely wiped out.
From 1954-1958, he worked as a Merchant Marine on the Great Lakes. Intellectually capable of reaching rank of captain, but with a birth defect that left him with sight in only one eye, his captain encouraged him to go to college. At 26, he attended the Colorado School of Mines where he earned a Bachelors of Metallurgy Engineering in 1962. In 1964, he moved to California to work for Sargent Air Rite Aerospace Company in El Segundo as a titanium expert on the Apollo program.
In 1979 to 1993, he worked at Hughes Aircraft Company in Failure Analysis and transitioned into the new field of computers. In 1993, he retired and moved to Mammoth Lakes full time.
He is survived by his sisters, Mariette Moreau, 81, and Sister Gil Marie Balthazar, 77, and nieces and nephews who reside in Vermont, England, and Texas. He will be profoundly missed by a wide circle of friends that span throughout Mammoth Lakes, Southern California, Colorado and Washington.