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Irene Balk
1936 - 2016

Irene E. Balk, age 79, of Dubuque, Iowa, was called home peacefully at 8:35 a.m., on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at Stonehill Care Center, surrounded by her loving family. To honor Irene’s life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at Holy Spirit Parish, Sacred Heart Church, 2215 Windsor Avenue, with Rev. Dwayne J. Thoman officiating. To celebrate Irene’s life, family and friends visited from 3:00 p.m., until 8:00 p.m., on Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
Irene was born on November 19, 1936, in Dubuque, Iowa, daughter of Deloss and Idella (Garvey) Kringle. Irene was born and raised in Dubuque and would joyfully be united in marriage to her one true sweetheart, Reuben Balk, on August 11, 1956. Their union would be blessed with 30 committed years together, and 6 precious children, before he was called home ahead of her on March 8, 1987. The majority of Irene’s life revolved around her faith, family and in home daycare. She was a longtime and faithful member of Sacred Heart Church and the Rosary Society. Irene was also a loyal Girl Scout leader for many years, who enjoyed every opportunity, to not only spend time with her daughters, but to also help nurture them into fine young women. Irene has also left a permanent imprint on the lives of numerous daycare children who continued to maintain regular contact with her as they began, and traveled through, their adult lives. Her devotion to the ever important early foundations of childhood development was a mission she proudly carried in her heart each day. Irene’s devotion to her loved ones was clearly evident to all who knew and loved her and not a day went by where her actions wouldn’t easily correlate with her nurturing, and gently spoken words over the years. Irene did graciously invest some of her free time within Reuben’s interests also. She gladly joined the John Deere Women’s Auxiliary and the V.F.W. #508 and would generously present both with countless hours to share. We’ve lost a dear and sweet lady today and the ache in our hearts is all so very real and almost more than we can bear. But we know that our lives have definitely been enriched over the 79 years the Lord was kind enough to share her with us and we find comfort in knowing she is now, once again, reunited with her family who were called home ahead of her.
Those left to cherish Irene’s memory include her five children, Joan (Russell) Schuetz, Darlington, Joyce (Mike) Tricarico, Dubuque, Iowa, Janice (Keith) Rosenstiel, South Wayne, Janann (Rick) Gertsch, Gratiot and Reuben (Heather) Balk, Dubuque, Iowa; ten grandchildren, Aaron (Marissa) Balk, Andrea (Kris) Weland, Austin Balk, Kody Balk, Kyle Balk, Katelyn Kirkpatrick, Trevor Rosenstiel, Alex Gertsch, Taylor Gertsch and Haley Gertsch; four great-grandchildren, Jocelyn and Jackson Balk and Tanner and Tatum Weland; two brothers, Leo Kringle and Oliver (Janice) Kringle, both of Dubuque, Iowa; a brother-in-law, Alfons Wick, Darlington; a son-in-law, Gerald Heimann, Gratiot; her special friend and caregiver, Kelly Kirkpatrick, Dubuque, Iowa; and she is also survived by many cherished Godchildren and her day care children who were loved like her own family.
Irene was preceded in death by her parents; a daughter Jennifer Heimann; two grandchildren, Megan and Michelle Heimann; two sisters, Marie Wick and Idella Kringle, a brother, Chris (Mary) Kringle; and a sister-in-law, Ann Kringle.
An Irene E. Balk memorial fund has been established.
Irene’s family would like extend a special thank you to the nurses and staff at Stonehill, and Hospice of Dubuque, for all of the kind, loving and compassionate care they provided to Irene and her family.
Online condolences may be left for the family at