Lois Balkenbush (91) passed away peacefully on January 7, 2019, at the Westview Healthcare Center surrounded by loving family.
Lois Mae Balkenbush was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, on September 14, 1927 to Laurel M Peters and Ethelyn G (Rowden) Peters. She grew up the third of three children at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, South Dakota, where her parents operated the Sylvan Lake Lodge. She graduated from Custer (SD) high school and attended nursing school at the University of Denver where she met the love of her life, Jim Balkenbush.
Lois and Jim were married at Sylvan Lake, South Dakota, on February 14, 1947 and celebrated their 71st anniversary shortly before Jim passed away in March of 2018. They lived in Hill City, South Dakota; Loveland, Colorado; Buffalo, Lander, and Story, Wyoming. They came to Buffalo in the early 50’s when Lois’s parents bought “Piney Inn “ dude ranch in Story. (Now Wagonbox Inn) In Buffalo they had the Family Shoe Store and J&J Chevrolet. They also had an outfitting business with Lois’s parents and later with their sons. Lois was an outstanding “camp cook” for hunting camps. Many of their hunters came back every year for several decades and became good friends. Jim and Lois started Balkenbush Real Estate, in Story and Sheridan in the 70’s. In 2002 they retired and continued to live in Story.
Lois was a woman of faith, a devout Catholic. She was a supportive and devoted wife, mother grandmother and great grandmother. She was an avid sports fan – especially when her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were participating. At many a basketball, football, wrestling, volleyball and rodeo event she could be seen (and especially heard) above the crowd cheering them on and/or advising the officials of their “responsibilities”. She was a voracious reader, an accomplished seamstress and quilter and very much enjoyed her swimming group at the Sheridan Y which she faithfully attended until just one month before her death. She and Jim also enjoyed attending the weekly “lunch bunch” at the Story Women’s Club and delivering Meals on Wheels well into their 80’s.
Lois and Jim moved to Sheridan in 2010 after Jim was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2008. Lois was dearly loved by family and friends. She will be remembered for her unconditional loving, kind, compassionate and caring presence in all of their lives and her devoted selfless caregiving for Jim as they battled his Alzheimer’s disease for over 10 years.
Survived by six of her seven children – Jalene (Steve) Sorenson of Gillette; John (Candy) Balkenbush of Conrad, Montana; Judy Balkenbush (Joe Panetta) and Pete (Cheri) Balkenbush of Sheridan, Bob (Tammy) Balkenbush of Somers, Montana; Ken (Wendy) Balkenbush of Story.
Grandchildren -Jim(Tami)Sorenson and Chris (Krista) Sorenson, Jay(Christina)Balkenbush and Justin (Terri) Balkenbush, Eric (Angela) Howell, Jamie (Jeremiah) Attanasio, Annie (Martin) Schubarth, Sara (Dave) Francis, Kristen (Ray) Hahn, Allison (Hunter) Wohlers, Carly Balkenbush (Damon Santini), John Michael Balkenbush, Jason (Lena Roberts) Balkenbush, Steven (Therese) Balkenbush, Chelsea Balkenbush (David Lopez), Makenna Balkenbush, 35 great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter. She was preceded in death by her husband Jim in March of 2018, her parents, siblings and one son, Dan Balkenbush.
Memorial sharing service will be at Kane funeral home in Sheridan on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at 7 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 AM on Wednesday, January 16 at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church in Story. Graveside services to follow at Kearney Cemetery with a luncheon at story Woman’s Club around noon.
Donations in Lois’s name to Sheridan Senior Center Caregiver’s Support Group, 211 Smith St., Sheridan, WY 82801 and/or Story Women’s Club, 28 N. Piney Road, Story, WY 82842 would be much appreciated.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements.