Keith was born on September 9, 1940 in Shawano, WI, the second of thirteen children to Frank and Margaret Balke. As a young boy, he lived with his parents on a farm in Shawano County until 1954 when they moved to a farm in the Town of Deer Creek. After graduating from New London High School, Keith served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Panama where he met his beautiful wife of over 53 years, Maria. The couple welcomed five children into their lives, from which they have derived great joy over the years. Keith worked hard his entire life, first on the family farm, then in the army and construction before settling into his career at WE Energies where he worked for 36 years as a lineman and lead man in Bear Creek and Bonduel. He spent many countless days and nights working year round in the most harrowing weather conditions to restore power during storms. Keith’s dedicated a lot of his free time to his community. He was an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and a well-respected community leader serving as a long term Village President in Bear Creek and also as Township Supervisor in Deer Creek. Keith was an avid outdoorsman and spent many happy hours in the woods and on the water teaching his kids and grandkids the right way to hunt and fish to be successful and safe. He loved his annual deer hunting trips with his brothers, sons and grandsons, fishing on the river with his good buddy Leroy, special hunting trips out west for elk with his beloved horses and buddy Paul, and in Canada for caribou hunting and fly-in fishing trips. Keith also enjoyed reading and spending time with his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.
Keith is survived by his wife, Maria; children: Janet (Christopher) Pflum, New London; Jean (Craig) Lyon, Shakopee, MN; Keith Jr. (Kelli), New Prague, MN; Jacqueline Torrero, Boca Raton, FL; and Julie (Robert) Koeppen, Clintonville; grandchildren: Michael (Niki) Jaeger, Jennifer Young, Justin (Nicole) Pflum, Taylor Pflum, Kelsey Pflum, Jenica Lyon, Alexa Lyon, Andrew Lyon, Annalise Lyon, Keith Charles Balke III, Amanda Balke, Justin Malecha, Alyssa Malecha, Michael Malecha, Sydni Torrero, Jordan Koeppen, Jett Koeppen, Isabella Koeppen; great-grandchildren: Logan Jaeger, Peyton Young, and Kyla Jaeger; brothers: Clayton, Michael (Pat), Stephen, Stanley, Bruce (Karen), Peter; sisters: Mary (Lawrence) McKay, Patricia (William) Laha, Kathleen (James) Klingbeil, Barbara (Jeffery) Noie; his loyal dog Sophie, and many nieces, nephews and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Wayne and Charles.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, May 7, 2016 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bear Creek with Rev. Jack Mullarkey officiating. Internment will be in the parish cemetery also in Bear Creek with military honors conducted by members of the Clintonville American Legion Post #63, VFW Post #664, and American Legion Auxiliary Post #63. Friends may call at the Eberhardt-Stevenson Funeral Home & Crematory in Clintonville from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Friday with a parish prayer service starting at 7:45 p.m. and at the church on Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers a memorial fund is being established by Keith’s family. For more information or to send condolences visit www.eberhart-stevenson.com
There were many people who cared for Keith throughout his illness, so the family wishes to extend a special thanks to the WI Chapter of the ALS Association, VA ALS Clinic Staff, Dr. Paul Barkhaus (Froedert/VA), Dr. Craig Hendel (Thedacare), Jessica Forstner, and all the wonderful nurses from Thedacare Home Hospice (Renee, Christy, Kelly, Jolene, Roxanne and Marilyn).