Friday, June 10, 2022 ~ 11:00 a.m.
Ashland Cemetery ~ Ashland, Nebraska
Eugene Ballou (“Gene”) breathed his last breath and departed our world on September 30, 2021. He was born October 6, 1932. He was born on a farm near Ashland, Nebraska, to Martin and Mildred Ballou, the youngest of six children (three boys, and three girls). He attended a small country school in the tiny community of Wann, in a schoolhouse that had no indoor plumbing, and you’d never believe how far he had to walk through deep snow just to reach the bus stop!
Their farm had several small lakes on it, and his father built a pump with which to pump gravel from one of the lakes and he started a gravel business that grew into a fairly successful enterprise until his failing health forced the family to sell the farm and move to the city, in the 1940s.
Gene served a stint in the U.S. Navy in the early 1950s, and then later graduated from Colorado College, with a major in Spanish. He eventually moved to California, and later got into the insurance business in 1958, which was right around the same time he met his future wife, Wanda, and they were married in 1959. Gene and Wanda had three children. The family moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in the spring of 1977. There, Gene and Wanda bought the house they’ve continued to live in for forty-four years, and he started a new insurance agency; Ballou Insurance Service. Gene was well liked by his customers and numerous friends, and loved by his family. He was very creative and was always building or repairing something or another in his home workshop. In the 1960s, he took up oil painting for several years, creating an unknown number of seascapes, western and nature scenes, and at least one impressive painting of a sailing ship. In 1970/71, he built an impressive all-wooden grandfather’s clock, which kept surprisingly accurate time for several years while he and his family lived in California.
He also had a fascination with antique firearms, and he became very skilled at restoring old broken guns, and he even built a few flintlock Kentucky long rifles. He loved the shooting sports, hand-loading ammunition, going to gun shows, and when he was younger, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping trips. He also enjoyed treasure hunting, especially with his metal detector. Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his family. He truly lived an amazing life, and he will be missed dearly.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, four of his five siblings, grandson, Evan Giles.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Wanda, by his three children; Marty, Jim (and his wife, Yami), and Caroline (and her husband, Brian), and by five grandchildren; Eva, Seth, Adeline, Eugene, and Gabi; sister, Dolores Olson.
Wanda Ballou departed this physical realm on October 17, 2021. She was born in Kansas City, Kansas on December 21, 1932, to Bonar Marcillis Cook and Adeline LaGrande (Freeland) Cook. Wanda was one of nine children. Her twin sister, Juanita Cook, died several months after birth.
Wanda was a very devoted wife and mother, and a virtuous, determined, and tenacious woman of strong character who always put others before herself. She was a sociable spirit who befriended people everywhere she went. She liked to cook, read, and travel. She enjoyed solving puzzles of all kinds, and was very talented at quilting, crocheting, embroidering, and knitting. She created some wonderful quilts and afghan blankets for family and friends.
She served and was honorably discharged as a U.S. Marine in the early 1950s. After living in Trenton, New Jersey for a spell, and working to support herself while attending school, she eventually moved to California, where she met her future husband of 62 years, Gene Ballou. They were married in 1959, and had three children.
The family moved from California to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 1977. Gene and Wanda lived in the same house until they went to heaven. Wanda kept herself busy and involved with a myriad of activities. Among other things, she served as a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church in Coeur d’Alene for several years.
Wanda’s children were blessed to have her for a mother, and her husband was blessed to have her for a wife. Her friends also feel blessed to have known her. Words cannot describe how much she will be missed.
She was preceded in death by her parents and all her siblings, by her grandson, Evan James Giles, and by her husband, Gene Ballou. She is survived by three children; Marty, Jim (and his wife, Yami), and Caroline (and her husband, Brian), as well as five grandchildren; Eva, Seth, Adeline, Eugene, and Gabi.