Obit: Balch, Rella W. (1859 - 1912)

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----Source: CLARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN & PRESS (Neillsville, Wis.) 12/19/1912

Balch, Rella W. (14 Sep 1859 - 23 Dec 1912)

No death of recent years has brought a greater shock nor more general sorrow to this community than that of Rella Balch, which came suddenly Monday afternoon, Dec. 23, 1912. He had suffered for some time past from a severe attack of rheumatism, but had gained gradually, and was again able to be out and attended to his duties as deputy Clerk of the Court last week in the court room. He was taken ill Saturday, pneumonia developing, but even Monday morning his condition did not appear dangerous, but a sudden turn for the worse came and he sank rapidly, dying early in the afternoon.

Rella W. Balch was born at Sheboygan Falls, Wis. Sept. 14, 1859. In addition to a common school education he attended the state university for a short time, and in early life taught school. He came to Neillsville, Clark County in Dec. 1880 with his father, the late F.A. Balch, and together they established themselves in the mercantile business. Later the father retired and R.W. Balch formed a partnership with B. Tragsdorf, which continued about fourteen years. In 1886 Mr. Balch was elected Clerk of the Circuit Court and served till Jan. 1, 1889. He was a faithful and competent officer and later was called upon to assist, being Deputy at the time of his death. In 1899 Balch and Tragsdorf built the big store, but owing to ill health he sold out his interest. In 1904 he again went into mercantile business with H.H. Heath and continued two years, and on Mr. Heath’s retiring he continued alone for a year. At intervals his health was very bad, and he spent two winters in Colorado and one in Phoenix, Ariz. Whenever his strength permitted, he again entered into the activities of life, doing efficiently whatever he undertook. For many years he was a member of the school board, first as treasurer and later director. He was a man of such clear intelligence, independent thought, and absolute honesty, that his opinion carried a vast weight in the community and for miles around. He was a charter member of the M.W.A. and an active member of the Blue Lodge and Chapter Masonic orders.

Mr. Balch was married at Hingham, Wis., Nov. 22, 1881 to Nettie B. Whipple, who with their two sons Leland and Harold are left to mourn his death. He leaves also one brother, F.O. Balch, of Milwaukee, and a sister, Mrs. J.W. Sontag, of St. Paul.

The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the home, the freemasons having charge of the funeral. The Modern Woodmen will also attend as a body.



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