Balin and elusive founder Tehanu
Balin with Tehanu
With sadness announces today the passing of staff member, friend and Tolkien fan ‘Balin’. He was a fixture on the TORn chat room (Barliman’s) where he made many virtual friends that became close personal friends from around the globe.

Balin moderated Barliman’s with wit and humor and his good nature and knowledge on a wide range of topics that will be missed. He also was instrumental for TORn in establishing the scholarly track at the ORC and ELF events and helped to bridge the gap between scholars and Lord of the Ring movie fans.

Most of all Balin will be missed by friends and family for the wise, humourous and thoughtful person that he was. Private services will be held for his family.

Balin’s family had this to say to his closest friends and TORn staff: “We want to thank everyone for all the kind words and support you have given us. Balin thrived on the camaraderie and friendship he found in all of you, and we thank you for all the care, love, and friendship you have given him and us.”

The death followed a long illness in which Balin stayed active and enjoyed his family and friends with vigor and joy. He was a TORn regular at conventions and gatherings, making many friends and closing many bars. extends its deepest sympathies to Balin’s family, now also friends of the Tolkien community. We loved your father and husband and will cherish our memories of him.

Add your comments to the condolences thread on message board here. Friends of Balin’s are gathering in the site’s chat room to share their memories.

Do you have a photograph with Balin? We are collecting images to post into a special scrapbook gallery devoted to his memory. Please email them to

In lieu of flowers, Balin’s family are suggesting donations in his memory to the Joliet Area Community Hospice or the Colon Cancer Alliance. If you should choose to donate, please indicate the donation in memory of Gregory Grieman.