Carl Balderson, Jr.

Carl W. Balderson, Jr. was born on May 8, 1951 in Parkersburg, to his parents, Carl W. and Audrey M. Balderson.

He proudly served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 1978 and was in the Aerospace Physiological Medicine Division stationed at Sheppard Air Force base in Texas and Wiesbaden AB in Germany. Carl was a graduate of Parkersburg Community College, receiving an Associate of Arts degree in 1979. He continued his education while working full-time and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from West Virginia University in 1981. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and on the Dean's Honor's List.

Carl was a successful business owner and community leader. He was a generous person who had a big heart. He had a contagious smile and enjoyed making everyone laugh. He would wake up every morning with a smile on his face. Carl was a man's man who loved his coffee, pipe, enjoyed life and admired John Wayne. Carl "Buss" loved most in life his wife, Diane, who he affectionately called "Sweetsie."

Carl opened his first pawn shop (Carl's Pawn Shop) at 3408 Dudley Ave. in Parkersburg, on March 18, 1991, and later moved next door to 3410 Emerson Ave., in Oct. 2001. On Nov. 16, 1994, he opened his second pawn shop at 515 Division St. in Parkersburg. Carl's Pawn Shop is still a thriving business in the community today. Carl was a recipient of various business awards, since he started his business. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and The Marietta Times have named Carl's Pawn Shop, as the best pawn shop and has won the Reader's Choice Award numerous times. He was a member of the National Pawn Brokers Association and the West Virginia Pawn Brokers Association.

He enjoyed hunting mountain lions, elk, black bears, antelope, mule deer and various other game. Carl was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and on his desk he kept a bookmark with the phrase "The right to bear arms shall not be infringed..." He was a lifetime member of the Parker Gun Collectors Association, the LC Smith Gun Collector Association, a member of the RW Hunt Club, the Fort Boreman Gun Club and was on the Board of Directors of the Marietta Gun Club. He participated in the Vintage World Cup Side by Side Championship and several years in the Parker Brothers vs L.C. Smith Southern Side by Side, in Sanford, N.C. Carl was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, past president of the Vienna Lion's Club and member of the Parkersburg Country Club.

Over the years his other interests included golfing, traveling, waterskiing, bowling, and reading. He loved reading history and his Louis L'Amour book collection.

After Carl unexpectedly passed away on July 29, 2015 following complications from surgery, his wife, Diane, created a permanent memorial fund with the PACF to honor his love for reading and passions.