Richard A. Balek, age 79, of Lawton, ND, died Friday, January 1, 2021 at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.
On December 3, 1941, Richard Anton Balek was born to Anton and Emily (Herda) Balek on a farm in rural Lawton, ND. At age 3, the family moved the long distance of 1½ miles to the Balek homestead where he lived for the remainder of his life.
Richard and his only sibling Betty Jean grew up working hard and playing hard on that farm with many cousins joining in on the fun. Living in a Czech family, both languages of English and Czech were spoken. With that, came all that good food. They lived 5 miles from the Lawton school. They would ride in a horse-drawn bus, on a horse, or even walk. But, not uphill both ways as many parents from that time period would like us to believe. Richard graduated from Lawton High School in 1959. He helped his parents farm the land. In 1963, he lost his beloved father, and took over the running of the farm with his mother and grandmother who also lived with them.
Richard met Judy Keisacker in 1964 at a dance in Lakota while he was with his lifelong sidekick Skip Lorenz. On September 18, 1965, Richard and Judy were married at St. Catherine's of Lomice. Their reception was the first to be held in the brand new hall. They traveled the state of ND for their honeymoon, but had to hurry home to bring in the harvest. The following year they had their first child Jody Renae with Steven Richard following the next. Six years later the baby Rebecca Ann completed the family. Life on the farm was busy, fun, and hard work. Grandma Emily also lived on the farm, and it was a team effort to bring in the crop, raise a big garden, chickens, cattle, pigs, ducks, geese, and kids.
Faith, hard work, and love were the cornerstones of his life. Attentiveness was one of his very strong points. Always there at church, all events, lending a hand where needed, or just being there at the kitchen table to talk and find out how your day went was what he excelled at his entire life. He was a community hero; always there to lend a hand to anyone in need, those in the neighborhood, in town, family, and friends. He did not know the word no, and he would drop everything to help in any way he could, especially for his family.
Richard retired from farming in ’97-98, but does a farmer really retire? No. Up until this fall, he would work for other farmers (to enjoy the work of the farm but not the worry). He and Judy worked for the postal service for years delivering mail on rural routes, at the Farmer’s Union, and as a bartender at The Bar for Larry Legacie where everyone knew his name, and he knew their order before they sat down. Plus, he had many odds and ends jobs over the years. Richard was on many boards and committees. Some being, the township board, fire department, and offices of St. Catherine’s Church and cemetery. He and Judy mowed the church’s property right up to this fall.
Richard’s faith was an example to many, never missing a Mass unless sick or weather related. He would always find the church before finding the college or new place to live for his kids. He worked on all church events and fixed things at the church. He gave everything to his religious life. He was God’s faithful servant.
The past few years were filled with spending time with his beautiful wife and best friend of 55 years, Judy. And, being the best dad to his children Jody (Dennis) Samuels, Steven (Kathy) Balek, and Becky Balek; doting on grandchildren Megan (friend Dayton) Carlson, Justin (Alyssa) Carlson, Mary Beth, & Robert Balek; also being best buddy to his great granddaughters Paige, Ava, Makayla, Eloise, & Blake. He was brother to Betty Jean Burchfield and Uncle to Lori Chapman, Vicki (James) Tolson, & Toni (Greg) Barnes.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
If a man’s legacy is determined by how he lived his life, Richard is the richest man in heaven.
Visitation will be held Thursday, January 7, 2021 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Aaker Funeral Home, Lakota, ND. A private Funeral Mass will be held Friday, January 8, 2021 at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, Bechyne, rural Lankin, ND. A Memorial Mass and interment will be held in the spring at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Lomice, rural Lawton, ND.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard Balek, please visit our floral store.