Obit: Balz, Bernice E. (1915 - 2008)
Contact: R. Lipprandt

Surnames: Balz, Baseman, Bisping, Ciardo, Haelke, Henkelman, Reich, Reynolds, Schuster, Westfall, Wokatsch, Zastrow

----Source: The Record - Review (Abbotsford, Clark Co., WI), Online Edition, October 23, 2008

Balz, Bernice E. (Westfall) (August 13, 1915 - October 12, 2008)

Bernice E. Balz, 93, Wausau, formerly of Rib Falls, died Sunday, October 12, 2008, at Aspirus Hospice House, Wausau.

She was born August 13, 1915, in the town of Halsey, daughter of the late Louis and Edith (Reynolds) Westfall.

On August 1, 1936, she married Edwin Balz at Trinity Lutheran Church, Athens. He preceded her in death on February 1, 2004.

Bernice had a long and happy life. At age 14, she left home to work in Edgar and Marathon cleaning, babysitting and cooking. Fresh homemade bread was her specialty. She also worked for Fromm Brothers in their ginseng gardens.

She met Edwin when she was 15 years old at Prochnow's Ballroom. After a six year courtship, and many, many dances, they were married.

In the spring of 1939 they moved to Rib Falls where they dairy farmed and grew ginseng for 40 years.

Bernice, along with her husband, were members of the Marathon Square Dance Club for 17 years, a charter member of the Central Wisconsin Steam and Gas Engine Antique Show from 1973 to present and a member of St. John Lutheran Church in Rib Falls. After retiring in 1978, they moved to Wausau.

Bernice enjoyed cooking, gardening, sewing, traveling and most of all, her family. Her favorite past-time was working in her yard, caring for her flowers and shopping at TJ Max.

She had a unique sense of style and desire to live life to the fullest. We all knew that after 68 years of marriage, she was the only one who could make fried potatoes like Ed wanted them. She will be sadly missed by her family, friends and neighbors.

Survivors include seven children, Allan (Janet) Balz, Weston, Nancy (Eldred) Haehlke, Athens, Bonnie (Lawrence) Wokatsch, Wausau, Gary (Darlene) Balz, Marathon, Thomas (Pamela) Balz, Marathon, Janice (Joseph) Ciardo, Wausau, and Marka (Tom) Henkelman, Merrill; 21 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; 11 step-great grandchildren; two great-great-granddaughters; one brother, Harland (Gerry) Westfall, Athens; and many nieces, nephews, relatives and friends further survive.

Besides her parents and husband, Edwin, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Dorothy Baseman and Marjorie Zastrow; and three brothers, Eugene, Earl and Roy Westfall.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at St. John Lutheran Church, Rib Falls. Rev. Terry Reich will preside. Burial will be in Restlawn Memorial Park, Wausau. Friends called Tuesday from 4 until 8 p.m. at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, Wausau, and again Wednesday from 10 a.m. until time of services at the church.

A special thank you to Mitzie Bisping and Barb Schuster for their love and compassion and also to Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice Services.

Online condolences at

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