Kenneth ‘Ken’ Balts
May 17, 1941 - September 30, 2021
Kenneth “Ken” Balts, 80, of Holmen, WI, passed away at his home on Thursday, September 30, 2021. He was born in Chippewa Falls, WI, on May 17, 1941, to William and Rose (Gerber) of Cadott, WI. He married the love of his life, Mary Lou Dohlby on August 12, 1967, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Eau Claire, WI.
Ken was raised on a dairy farm near Cadott and enjoyed growing up on the farm. After graduating from Chippewa Falls High School, he served in the U.S. Air Force as an avionics technician on F-106 Delta Dart intercept fighter. Ken returned home to the farm and attended UW-Eau Claire while also working at the Falls Dairy Co. in Jim Falls, WI. Ken graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and math. After getting married, he attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he received a master’s degree in physics. Ken then went to work as an avionics instructor for Hughes Aircraft Co. in Los Angeles, CA. Ken loved teaching and moved the family to La Crosse in 1973 where he worked as an instructor and administrator at Western Technical College until his retirement in 2003.
Ken was active in the La Crosse Area Beekeepers Association, as he had been involved with beekeeping since he was 8. Ken and Mary Lou were active in the Oktoberfest Grenadier Corps for seven years, and he was also active in the Oktoberfest Singers. He enjoyed traveling and camping, and more than 30 years at their seasonal site at Neshonoc Lakeside Campgrounds in West Salem where he led semi-annual golf cart parades. Ken was also active with La Crosse Area Celiac Group and on various committees at Faith United Methodist Church, including serving as a scoutmaster there for several years.
Ken is survived by his wife, Mary Lou of Holmen; a daughter, Linda (Kevin) Harmon of Charlotte, NC and a son, Keith (Christine) Balts of Greenville, SC; five loving grandchildren, Connor, Logan and Luke Harmon, and Rachel and Adam Balts. He is also survived by two sisters, Shari (Swede) Zwiefelhofer of Bloomer, WI and Sheila (John) Johnson of Eau Claire, WI; a brother-in-law, Jim (Jean) Dohlby of Eau Claire, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents William and Rose Balts; his sister Karen Waller, along with other family relatives.
Memorial services will be held at 11AM on Wednesday, October 6, at Faith United Methodist Church, 1818 Redfield St, La Crosse. Pastor Karen Bankes will officiate. Friends may call on the family at the church on Wednesday morning from 9AM until the time of services. A private family burial will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred and will be donated in Ken’s memory to Faith United Methodist Church, Western Technical College Foundation-Ken Balts scholarship, and Causeway Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers.
Schumacher-Kish Funeral and Cremation Services of La Crosse is assisting the family. An online guestbook is available at www.schumacher-kish.com.
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