Catherine Antoinette (Toni) Balock was born in Miles City on Nov. 4, 1929. She passed away peacefully in the afternoon of Aug. 19 surrounded by three of her beloved children and supported by Frontier Hospice and the caring staff of Well Life Assisted Living in Kalispell.
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A memorial service will be held at Lake Funeral Home in Polson at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26. her ashes will be interned immediately following, overlooking Flathead Lake at the Polson Cemetery alongside those of her husband, Luke, and son, Brian.
Toni attended Fratt Grade School in Billings and graduated from Billings Senior High in 1947. She married the handsome Luke Balock on May 22, 1948, at St. Patrick's Church in Billings. Toni and Luke started their family life in Harlowton and Roundup, returning back to Billings in the early 1960s.
Toni gave life to six children. Her family was her vocation. She sacrificed and worked tirelessly at the domestic and foundational tasks of raising such a large family. Toni dearly loved her own brothers and sisters and instilled that same love of family in her children. She absolutely delighted in each one of her grand- and great-grandkids. She enjoyed camping and fishing trips with her brood, always nurturing a love and respect of the great outdoors.
Toni loved to do crossword puzzles, read and play bridge. She made sure that all of her children and grandchildren could win a game of cribbage by the time they were 8 years old. She took pride in her Irish heritage and comfort in her Catholic faith.
When Toni and Luke lived in Bozeman, she worked at Hillcrest Retirement Center and owned and operated The Mode, a women's clothing store. In their later years, Toni and Luke very much enjoyed living in Polson and Whitefish.
Toni was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Lucas L. Balock; her eldest son, Brian; her sisters Virginia (Babe) Olson, Bonnie Goff and Patricia Clark; her brothers John and Tom Brown; and her parents Thomas and Eleanor Brown.
She is survived by her daughter Barbara Rose and her husband, Arnie Ostrander, of Paonia, Colorado; son Jim Balock and his wife, Mary Ann, of Houston, Texas; daughter Kathy Gearhart of Whitefish; son Rob Balock of Henderson, Nevada; daughter Nancy Mortier and her husband, Michael, of Newcastle, Washington; granddaughters Calla and Ursula Ostrander, Lauren and Julia Mortier and Kate Gearhart; grandsons Scott Gearhart and his wife, Ali, and Tyler Gearhart and his wife, Kate; her great-grandchildren Olivia and Henry and Fitz Gearhart.
In lieu of flowers, charitable donations can be made in her honor to the Polson Senior Center 504 Third Ave. E., Polson, MT 59860.
"May the road rise to meet you … May the wind be always at your backs.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rains fall upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand."
– Olde Irish Verse
The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory
101 Sixth Avenue East
Polson, MT 59860
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 25, 2016