Celebrating the life of Heather Janet Balock
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Longtime Melstone resident Heather Janet Thompson Balock passed away peacefully at Novak Cottage assisted living in Billings on Feb. 14, 2018.
Heather was born July 8, 1936 in Choteau to Charles and Gladys Thompson, the youngest child of 14 in a blended family. She didn’t have a name for six months after birth, as her father was away fighting the Spanish Civil War with the Canadian Infantry. Her mother waivered between Rosemary Jane and Heather Janet, finally settling on the latter which reminded Gladys of the fields of purple heather plants in her native Scotland.
Heather spent her early years in Dutton before the family moved to Great Falls. At the age of 12, she became her Mother’s eyes after Gladys went blind. Heather graduated from Great Falls High in 1953. She graduated class Salutatorian in 1957 from the College of Great Falls with a double major in math and chemistry.
Heather then moved to Melstone to teach high school algebra, geometry, science, chemistry, Latin and girls’ physical education. The 1957-58 contract paid $3,900 and included no drinking, no smoking and no swearing.
Heather met John Balock, Jr. in Melstone and married July 3, 1958. Three children were born to this union, Rita, Debra and Edward.
After marriage, Heather stopped teaching full-time and became John’s hands-on business partner in Balock Excavating and Balock Supply, a laundromat, a mobile home park, cable television in Melstone, Roundup and Twin Bridges. Meanwhile, she continued to substitute teach from 1958-78 and later was elected to the Melstone School Board. She served on the Melstone Cemetery Board and 30 years on the Musselshell County Election Board.
In August 2013, Heather and John received an Edward H. Stoll Award for 50 years of service as Cooperative Weather Observers from the National Weather Service. The Balocks’ voluntary Melstone weather watching is now in its third generation.
Heather especially loved to attend her three children and grandchildren’s school sporting events and activities. She bowled in the weekly women’s league in Roundup and loved to watch sports on TV, especially the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. Her extensive salt and pepper shaker collection features many from world travels.
Survivors include her sweetheart of 61 years, husband John, daughters Rita (Bruce) Giese of Port Orchard, WA, and Deb (Brad) Johnson of Oak Grove, MN, son Ed (Lorrie) Balock of Melstone, grand-daughter Sasha (Aaron) Green of Shepherd, grandsons Garrett (Kayla) Balock of Melstone, Kyle Johnson of Minneapolis, MN and Ryan Johnson of Farmington, MN, great-grandchildren Kaiyah and Tylen Green and Payson Balock, brothers David Thompson of Ephrata, WA, and Les Thompson of Geraldine, sister-in-law Jenny Thompson of Choteau, numerous nieces and nephews.
The family extends appreciation to the caring staff and residents of Novak Cottage at WyndStone and Senior Independent Hospice of Billings, especially nurse Gwen, along with Dr. Kendrick Trostel and Janae Harper, PA, of the Billings Clinic.
At her request, there will be no services. Wier Funeral Home in Roundup is entrusted with cremation.
Memorial donations to the Melstone Cemetery Board c/o Colleen Robinson Melstone, MT 59054.
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