Casper Otis Balke, age 89, passed away Thursday, Oct. 26 2006 in the Bellville General Hospital. He was a retired rancher and businessman. He was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Caroline Landolt Balke; step-mother Annie Schramm Acker; brother Charles Balke, Sr., and his beloved wife of 64 years, Celesta Albert Balke. Casper was born in Somerville, Texas on Dec. 15, 1916. His mother died when he was an infant. He attended the Somerville public schools and grew up in the Methodist faith. Following the early death of his father, he moved, at the age of 14, with his step-mother to Industry to live in the home of the Herman Schramm family. As a young man, he worked in the cotton gin, sawmill and drove a gravel truck. After graduating from Industry High School, he moved to Houston where he attended Massey Business College and worked for John Deere as a shipping clerk. On Oct. 10, 1936, he married his high school sweetheart, Celesta Albert, at the Welcome Lutheran Church. Together they made their home in Bleiblerville where they owned and operated the BalkeGeneral Merchandise Store. Their years together were filled with sharing their kindness; Christian values, and resources with others. They never met a stranger and considered everyone their friend. His most memorable occasions were the annual Christmas Eve parties held at the Balke Store and the fun of being with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Casper served on the Welcome Lutheran Church Council; was a Boy Scout leader and a past director of the Farmers Home Administration of Austin County. He served on the Board of Directors of the Bellville Hospital; the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative, Giddings, Texas, and Industry State Bank. He was a past Worshipful Master of the Bellville Masonic Lodge and past Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star, member of the Arabia Temple Shrine, Scottish Rite and Brenham Commandery. He was past president of the Brenham Shrine Club and member of the Bleiblerville Volunteer Fire Department. Casper lived a full life blessed with a loving wife and surrounded by a caring family and abundance of friends. The family would like to thank all who helped and visited during his stay in the hospital. A special thank-you goes to caregivers Claudale Phillips and Michael Duron, and the staff of the Bellville General Hospital for their devotion. He is kept in loving memory by sons and daughters-in-law Byron and Annette Balke, James and Carolyn Balke, all of Bleiblerville, daughter Marian Celesta Balke of Brenham; grandchildren, Kelly Balke, Susan Balke, Virgil and Leeann Balke, Tom and Phyllis Arnold; great grandchildren Amy Balke, Sam, Jacob and Katherine Arnold, and numerous relatives and friends. Friends called from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, 2006 at the Schmidt Funeral Home in Bellville, and from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, 2006 where family was present to receive friends from 4-8 p.m. Funeral service was held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2006 at the Welcome Lutheran Church with Pastor Jason Korthauer officiating and Pastor Michael Groseclose assisting. Interment will follow in the Welcome Lutheran Church Cemetery. Pallbearers are Charles Balke, Jr., Otto Acker, Jr., Virgil Balke, Tom Arnold, Thomas Kolwes, Darrell Kolwes, Bruce Buenger, Michael Duron, Paul Burnside, Bobby Nelson, Greg Buenger and Robert Balke. Honorary pallbearers are Billie Balke, Stanley Jurchak, Kermit Kolwes, Jimmie Buenger, Willie Stoerner, members of the Bellville Masonic Lodge, #223 AF & AM, Directors of the Bluebonnet Electric Co-op and the Industry State Bank. In lieu of usual remembrances, friends who wish may make memorial gifts to the Shriners Hospital for Children, 6977 Main St., Houston, TX 77030, Bleiblerville Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 151, Bleiblerville, Texas 78931, Bellville Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 977, Bellville, Texas 77418, or to the Welcome Lutheran Church Cemetery or Building Fund, 13636 FM 109, Brenham, Texas 77833, or to the charity of their choice. Schmidt Funeral Home in Bellville was in charge of arrangements.
Posted by Joy Neely