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Lester Alfred BalsterJuly 7, 1935 ~ December 27, 2017 (age 82)
APPLETON – Lester Alfred Balster, age 82, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 with his family by his side. He was born on July 7, 1935 on a family farm in Mercer County, Ohio. Les was the son of John and Albina (Heitkamp) Balster. His family was a close-knit group with eight siblings. Lester graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Also, Les attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa for his Master's degree and obtained his license as a professional engineer.
Les married Rae Ann Swinderman on June 27, 1964 in Guayama, Puerto Rico. They lived in Dayton, Ohio for their first eight years of marriage while Les worked at NCR where he helped develop a micro-encapsulation process for paper. This process was used for creating carbonless copy paper and for the first scratch and sniff stickers. In 1972, Les and the family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin where he worked at Appleton Papers for the next 29 years. During his career he helped design paper coating machines and engineered solutions for any challenges encountered in the operation of the machinery for creating finished paper products. He was a crucial team member on a number of patents. Les very much enjoyed his years employed at Appleton Papers and kept in touch with his coworkers regularly after retirement.
In his time away from work, Les enjoyed many favorite pastimes such as; wood working, gardening, reading, sailing, fixing anything that was broken and working on his son and daughter-in-law's farm building chicken coops, driving tractors, cutting wood and repairing fences. Les was also generous with his time volunteering at St. Bernadette's Catholic Church, St. Joe's Food Pantry, the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities, Sturgeon Patrol, and EAA Air Venture. He liked spending time chatting to family and friends, helping out neighbors with snow blowing sidewalks, roto-tilling their gardens and donating extra garden produce to the neighborhood as well as cooking outside on his home-made beer keg grill.
Mostly, Les loved spending time with his wife of 53 years, their children and their children's families. Traveling, camping up north near Beecher Lake, visiting interesting state parks and novel places and walking outside on the farm, at parks, in the woods and neighborhood were some of the many activities he enjoyed with his family. Attending children's and grandchildren's sporting events, concerts, and dance recitals as well as creating contraptions such potato launchers, sling shots, wood boats, doll clothes' dressers and model Ferris wheels were additional fun events and hobbies Les enjoyed. He liked keeping in touch with family. He kept close with his siblings and their families through annual reunions and family events, his wife's family through visits to and from Puerto Rico as well as extended family, friends, neighbors and coworkers by visits, phone conversations and emails. Les was a generous, kind, hardworking and gentle man.
Les is survived by his wife, Rae Ann, and their four children: Lisa Balster, Mark (Cheryl) Balster, Tracie (Tom) Schirtzinger, and Kellie (Jonathan) Fay and by nine grandchildren; Justin, Andrew (fiancée Lindsey), Kyle and Jack Balster; Eric, Ian and Adam Schirtzinger; Josie and Trevor Fay. In addition, he also is survived by two sisters: Bernice (Gene) Liening and Margie (Terry) Boeckman; brothers; Harold (Shirley), Ralph (Lois), Dennis (Bev), Delbert (Beatsy) Balster, a brother-in-law Robert Kinderman; sister-in-law Elsie Balster. Les was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Werner, sister Rita and sister-in-law, Karen Balster.
A Funeral Mass will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 2331 E. Lourdes Dr. Appleton with Fr. Don Zuleger officiating. Friends and family may visit at the church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Inurnment will take place at a later date at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Appleton.
Memorial contributions may be directed to Housing in Partnership of the Fox Valley, 605 E Hancock St Appleton, WI 54911, in Les’s name.
Lester's family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staffs at assisted living facilities at Heartwood Homes and at Brillion West Haven for the wonderful care and compassion given to our loved one. Also, Heartland Hospice staff and Valley Funeral Home staff were comforting and helpful to our family and their efforts were very much appreciated.