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Walter A. Balcom Sr.

July 2, 1926 February 4, 2015
Walter A. Balcom Sr.
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Obituary for Walter A. Balcom Sr.
Walter Aubrey Balcom, of Atlas, Wis., passed from this life on Feb. 4, 2015 at the age of 88, after a six-year battle with ocular melanoma.
A memorial service will be held Friday, March 27 at 11:00 a.m. at Laketown Lutheran Church Parish Hall.
Walter was the youngest of six sons, and was born in rural Grand Lake, Minn., and educated at the Grand Lake School and at Superior Central High School in Superior, Wis., where his family moved when he was in his teens. Walter did not complete high school, instead he lied about his age and enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17 and fought in World War II. He participated in the D-Day Invasion, and followed his company across France and Belgium into Germany. He was wounded in Germany; after his recovery was put on board a ship bound for the Pacific Theatre when Japan surrendered.
After the war, Walter moved to St. Paul, Minn., where his parents had settled during the war. On Feb. 21, 1949 he was united in marriage to Beverly Faye Van Cleave in St. Paul. He followed in his fathers footsteps and hired on with the railroad, starting with the Milwaukee Road and eventually hiring on with the Great Northern Railroad. The couple made their home in St. Paul and the suburbs of Shoreview, Minn. and Mounds View, Minn. while raising their family of five children. He retired from the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1987 after completing his 40-year career as a switchman and yard foreman. Walter and Beverly retired to Atlas in 1988.
Walter enjoyed spending time with his children, and he also enjoyed the outdoors. He and Beverly took their family on many camping trips in the Midwest and across the western U.S. An energetic man, Walter held many part-time jobs along with his railroad career. He worked as a mechanic at InterPlastics in St. Paul, as an assistant manager at Townsedge Terrace Mobile Home Park in Mounds View and as an auto mechanic out of his home garage. He also managed to find time to build a house and completely renovate a second home while working and raising his family.
Walter was always active in his community. In retirement he was active with the Frederic Lions Club from1992-2008. He helped to operate the clubs concession stand at Coon Lake Park for several years, as well as serving on the board and as club president and was named a Melvin Jones Fellowship award winner for the club. Walter also volunteered for the Festival Theatre as a handyman. He was always willing to help a neighbor or anyone else who needed advice, help fixing something (anything!), for a few bucks. Walter was a very social person who loved to meet new people and tell jokes and stories, and he always had a soft spot for waitresses.
Walter enjoyed a life-long passion for all things automotive. He learned to drive early, and was driving big gravel trucks for a family business at age 15. He loved fast cars, and had a brief career as a stock car driver on dirt tracks in California when he was stationed there in the 1940s. He was very proud of his 1939 Packard convertible, which he owned after his return home from the service. In the 1970s, he also drove semis hauling grain from northern Minnesota to North Dakota. When he wasnt doing something else, you could usually find his feet sticking out from under some vehicle, or he would be trading jokes with his buddies at one of the many junkyards he frequented. Later in life he enjoyed following Nascar and cheering on the local drivers at the St. Croix Raceway.
Walter is survived by his wife of 62 years, Beverly; and their five children, Claudia Balcom of Cushing, Wis; Walter Balcom Jr., and his wife Peggy, of Princeville, HI; John Balcom and his wife, Susan, of White Bear Lake, Minn.; Peter Balcom and his wife, Janice, of Blaine, Minn.; and Trudy Balcom and her husband, Tim Weymiller, of Harpers Ferry, IA; and sister-in-law, Eleanor Carlson, of Frederic, Wis. The family also includes six grandchildren: Seth Garon of Battle Ground Wash.; Holly Jensen of Frederic; Jacob Balcom, of Portland, Ore.; Erin Balcom, of Princeville, HI; Lindsey Clymer, of Stacy, Minn., Andrew Balcom, of Honolulu, HI; and eight great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Fred and Addie Balcom; and five brothers, Ward, Earl, Ralph, Joseph and Clyde.
Walters endearing smile and laugh, his generous and loving heart will be dearly missed by his family and all who knew him. Services will be planned at a later date.
An online guestbook is available at or .
Arrangements are entrusted to Rowe Funeral Home of Luck, 715-472-2444 and the Northwest Wisconsin Cremation Center in Milltown, 715-825-5550.
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