Funeral services for Francis E. Ballou, 89, were conducted by Pastor Steven Frock on Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira. Interment was in the Exira Cemetery in Exira. The casket bearers were his grandchildren. The Kessler Funeral Home in Exira was in charge of the arrangements.
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Francis Edward Ballou, the son of John Cameron and Rose Tina (Petersen) Ballou, was born June 20, 1923, at his parents' home west of Exira, and died Oct. 11, 2012, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, at the age of 89 years, 4 months, and 21 days.
Francis was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Lutheran Church west of Exira. He attended rural schools near Exira and graduated from the Exira High School with the Class of 1941. He then helped operate the family farm. On Jan. 7, 1946, he enlisted into the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged on March 22, 1947, and returned to the Exira area where he farmed.
On March 6, 1949, he was united in marriage to Margaret Thielen at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Audubon. Seven children: John, Dennis, Carey, Joyette, Sharon, Mary, and Judith were born to this union. They grew row crops and raised livestock and dairy in Greeley Township, Audubon County for several years then later moved and farmed in Audubon Township. Margaret died April 10, 1995. Francis lived on the farm until he moved to his home in Exira in December of 2008. Francis never really retired from farming. In June of 2012, he moved to the Exira Care Center where he made his home.
Francis was a member of the Exira Lutheran Church where he served in many capacities as a church council member and president, usher, teacher, a longtime member of the dartball team and many other committees and volunteer roles. He was a steward of the land and served as a Soil Conservation Commissioner at both State and District level and served on the ASCS County committee. He was a Watershed Director and was instrumental in the development and care of Littlefield Lake and was named Watershed Man of the Year in 1977. He was an Audubon Township trustee, served on the Audubon County Historical Society Board and took care of the Audubon County Courthouse museum in Exira. He was a member of the Brayton Post #350, American Legion and was the Exira 4th of July Parade Chairman for over 50 years retiring in 2010. He was a 4-H leader and was the Sheep Supervisor at the Audubon County Fair until recent years and was involved in many other organizations. In 1995, he was awarded the Audubon County Service Award. Francis never met a stranger. He loved to fish and walk around Littlefield park.
Francis was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Ballou; his great-granddaughter Frances Labb-Retallic; his parents; an infant brother Charles Ballou; his sisters and brother Ruth and husband John Moore, Howard Ballou, Betty Ballou, and Faye Ballou.
Survivors include his children: John and wife Diana Ballou of Audubon; Dennis and wife Marlene Ballou of Exira; Carey and wife Patty Ballou of Exira; Joyette and husband Kevin Henry of Urbandale; Sharon and husband Ed Rathbun of Bridgewater, Va.; Mary and husband Bill Bontrager of Cumming; Judith and husband Denny Nelson of Exira; his grandchildren: Tina Ballou; Paula and husband Phillip Lehman and their son Dakota; Michael and wife Sara Ballou and their daughter Emily; Stephen Ballou and friend Becky Peterson; Kevin Ballou; Colt Ballou; Clint and wife Robin Jessen and their daughter Taylor; Robert Jessen and his son Levi; Marissa Henry; Chris and wife April Rathbun and their children Peyton and Reese; Clayton Rathbun; Ashley Rathbun and her daughter Emma; Logan Rathbun; Whitney and spouse Erica Labb-Retallic and their daughter Kaya Joy; Mike and wife Monique Bontrager and their children Shea and David; Stefan Bontrager and his son Matt; Kent Bontrager; McKenzie and husband Andy Kiger and their children Brianna and Dominic; Blake and wife Wendy Nelson and their son Kaleb; and Thad Nelson; his sister Erma and husband Bill Wilcox of Des Moines; his special family Dan Bennett of Kewanee, Ill.; numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Oct. 19 to Oct. 26, 2012