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1926 Norman 2021

Norman Fred Balko

September 20, 1926 — December 19, 2021

Norman “Norm” Balko passed away December 19, 2021, surrounded by his loving family at the age of 95 years. He was born on a dairy farm family home in North Central Wisconsin near the village of Almena on September 20, 1926, the ninth child of fourteen children, eight boys and six girls.

His parents were of German descent. His father immigrated to the U.S. at the age of six. The family spoke German and Norm learned to speak English when he attended his first year of school. The school was a one-room country school that provided grades one through eight. Norm was the only student in his class during his eight years which contributed to him being an exceptional student, having been tutored through his elementary years. When Norm entered high school, he was very active in athletic sports especially baseball, basketball, and boxing. When he graduated from high school, he stayed on the farm to help his parents during World War II.

At the age of 18 he enlisted in the US. Merchant Marines and attended training at Sheepshead Bay, New York. Upon completing his training, he graduated as the ship’s oiler having the responsibility of keeping the ship’s engine and all auxiliary equipment lubricated and operating efficiently. His port base was New York where he received his shipping orders for the Atlantic Ocean. He serviced major ports of the Netherlands, England, France, and areas of the English Channel. Shipments contained supplies to support military needs on the war front. One of his most interesting trips was to St. Nazaire, France. This German harbor was a major German Submarine maintenance repair headquarters during the war. It was conquered and converted to a Nazi Prisoner of War base by the Allies.

When the war ended, Norm received an honorable discharge from the Merchant Marines. He then enrolled in a training course to become a journeyman tool and die maker in Rockford, Illinois. During that time two of his veteran older brothers had purchased a farm machinery repair business in Norm’s hometown. That business flourished and his brothers called him to join them in their successful venture. He did so and was talented in blacksmithing. He became very capable in the art of metalworking and served the farming industry with his abilities at the forge and anvil as a blacksmith, sharpening plowshares and repairing farm machinery.

In 1950 the Korean War flared up. Norm, being in the military reserves, was called back to the U.S. Army for a two-year period. He served as a field maintenance and equipment repairman. After two years of service, he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. He then returned to the family business that had expanded to manufacturing truck snowplows and trailers for transporting fishing and pleasure boats. The business grew and was incorporated as BALKO, Inc. Norm was designated as Vice President of Sales and Advertising of the firm. Many dealers were established nationwide.

BALKO products were displayed at boat shows in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and numerous other locations. In 1963 a large factory in Iowa negotiated to purchase the BALKO family business and the sale was transacted.

While all these events were taking place, Norm met the love of his life, Doris Moss. She was a student at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point majoring in elementary education. However, during the summer months she was employed at the bank where BALKO, Inc. did their banking. This made it very interesting when Norm came to the bank to conduct the company business. They became very special friends and enjoyed many good times together. Doris sang in the summer church choir where Norm attended church and soon they were enjoying many great times together. They were married in July of 1956 and enjoyed their life together for 65 and a half years.

When BALKO, Inc. was sold, Norm and family ventured a move to Missoula, Montana where he enjoyed the investment and financial planning profession. He remained employed there for 25 years. He advanced in his investment career to become the Divisional Manager of the state of Montana with offices in Billings and Missoula until he retired.

Norm was an avid outdoorsman. His favorite was big game hunting. He scored a number of trophies which he displayed in the log house he designed and had built in Lower Miller Creek. He loved training Labrador Retriever hunting dogs and competed in field trials in Wisconsin. He was a long-time member of the Southside Lions Club, Rocky Mountaineers Barbershop Chorus, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and First Lutheran Church.

Norm was a faithful Christian and raised his family to believe in their Lord and Savior. He and his family attended First Lutheran Church regularly where he held a number of leadership positions and sang in the choir for many years. He was committed to leading a bible class for several years until he left this world for peaceful rest upon entering his eternal home with his Lord and Savior.

Norm was preceded in death by his parents, six brothers and five sisters. He is survived by his loving wife of 65 and a half years, Doris; four daughters Barbara Ann “Bobbi” (Joseph) Peterson, Christi Lee (Brad) Chunn, Pamela Doris (Lee) Lytton, and Peggy Norma (Dr. Glenn) Jarrett; and nine grandchildren; five great grandchildren; one brother Elmer Balko, Medford, Wisconsin, one sister Connie Lee Bromley, Edmonton-Alberta Canada, and numerous relatives and friends.

Funeral service will be held at First Lutheran Church at 2808 South Ave. W. in Missoula on December 28th. A visitation will begin at 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Service will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a soup luncheon fellowship to follow after the service. A Military Honors Ceremony will take place at the Veterans Cemetery at 1:00 p.m.
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

8:30 - 10:00 am (Mountain time)

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Service

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

First Lutheran Church

, Missoula, MT 59804

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Interment

Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery

1911 Tower St, Missoula, MT 59804

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