Celebrating the life of John Balock, Jr.
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10-24-1927 to 7-2-2021
Our beloved Dad and near-lifetime Melstone resident, John Balock, Jr., passed peacefully July 2, 2021, at Novak Cottage in Billings, MT.
Meeting him on The Other Side was his bride, Heather Thompson Balock, whom he married on July 3, 1958. Heather passed Valentine’s Day 2018. Dad long awaited this eternal reunion.
The eldest child of John and Mary Balock was born at home Oct. 24, 1927 in Absher. John was big brother to three sisters, Francis, Eveyln and Cathleen; all preceded him in death.
John lied about his age to get his first Milwaukee Railroad job (fired when found out he was 14) and never lost his love of trains, especially steam engines.
John graduated from Melstone High School in 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in time to serve in World War II. Dad was proud to go on a Big Sky Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in 2013.
At the age of 23, John bought his first piece of heavy equipment and started Balock Excavating, now in its 70th year of business. His son Ed and grandson Garrett move and work the same Montana dirt and rock that Dad did until he was 80 years old. Great-grandson Payson digs big trucks since birth in 2017, so Dad knows Fourth Generation Balock excavator training has begun.
Grandma Mary Balock played matchmaker when Mom moved to Melstone as a new school teacher. Grandma invited Heather for Sunday dinner after church. Of course, her single son, John, was there and Grandma was a good cook.
Dad and Mom raised three children, Rita, Deb and Ed. Always supported Melstone school sports and events. Loved especially watching grandson Garrett become a Melstone State C Boys’ Basketball champion in 2006.
Excavating and a family wasn’t enough to keep John and Heather Balock busy. They owned and operated supply, laundry mat and mobile home park businesses in Melstone, later brought cable television to Melstone, Twin Bridges and Roundup. August 2013, they received a 50-year Edward H. Stoll Award from National Weather Service as Cooperative Weather Observer for Melstone.
John was a Paul Harris Fellow with the Roundup Rotary Club. Numerous Rotary Exchange trips abroad sparked a travel interest that led John to 110 countries. Often, he sought international Rotary meetings and exchanged Club banners.
John served on the Roundup hospital board that built the nursing home. He donated labor and machinery to bring water to the Roundup golf course. He volunteered with Melstone Fire Department. Balock Excavating sponsored men and women’s bowling teams.
Survivors include daughters Rita (Bruce) Giese of Port Orchard, WA and Deb (Brad) Johnson of Oak Grove, MN; son Ed (Lorrie) of Melstone; grandchildren Sasha (Aaron) Green of Billings, Garrett (Kayla) Balock of Melstone, Kyle Johnson of Minneapolis, Ryan Johnson of Wisconsin; great-grandchildren Kaiyah and Tylen Green, Payson and Jaxson Balock; brother-in-laws Les Thompson of Geraldine and David Thompson of Washington; sister-in-law Jenny Thompson of Choteau; numerous nieces, nephews and many friends.
Thank you to the caregivers and residents of Novak Cottage at WyndStone.
At his request, there will be no services. Wier Funeral Home in Roundup is entrusted with cremation.
Memorial donations to the Melstone Community Center, Melstone, MT 59054.
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