|Leslie Milton Balster
September 9, 1920–November 15, 2009
|Leslie Milton Balster of Scotch Grove, Iowa and Waterloo, Iowa died unexpectedly, at age 89, on Sunday, November 15, 2009 at his home in Waterloo, of unknown causes. Services will be held at the Center Junction Presbyterian Church on Friday, November 20, at 1:00 p.m., with interment in the North Madison Pioneer Cemetery.
Les was born in Monticello, Iowa on September 9, 1920 to Arend Balster Jr. and Hermine (Minnie) Margaretha Hedden Balster of Scotch Grove. He grew up in Scotch Grove and graduated from Monticello High School in 1938. Les enrolled at Iowa State University at Ames, but was called back home after a year and a half to help his father in the family business, Balster's Implements & Parts Company, where Les worked for the rest of his life.
He married Jean Joy McNeilly of Center Junction, Iowa on November 29, 1941 in the Center Junction Presbyterian Church, and together they raised four children. After Jean died September 20, 1988, he married Wilma Yount Pieratt of Waterloo, Iowa, on April 6, 1991.
Les's life was devoted to his work at Balster's, an agricultural wholesale and retail parts and implements business, which was started in its earliest form by his great grandfather, Arend Balster Sr., in 1874 and established in Scotch Grove by his father in 1914. Les, at one time, ran the grocery store in Scotch Grove (Balster's Supermarket) and manufactured hydraulic hoses and hay hoists. He specialized in shipping "hard-to-find" parts nationwide.
In 1968, after his father retired, he became president of the company, and put his business on "main frame" computers in the late 1960s. Les loved technology and was extremely adept at programming and operating computers, even up to his last years. His business went digital in 2001 when, with the help of his two grandsons, he launched an Internet implement and parts website that received orders not only from all over the country, but also outside of it.
Les was also active for many years in Rotary, the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star, and the Center Junction Presbyterian Church. He especially loved working with DeMolay and Interact Club youth, teaching Sunday School highschoolers, and hosting foreign students. He also loved sports and was a season ticket holder at the University of Iowa for over 50 years. He particularly enjoyed jazz and swing bands, and before marrying had his own group—The Les Balster Orchestra. For a number of years he served on the Alumni Banquet Committee and headed the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.
Les was preceded in death by his parents, Arend Jr. and Minnie Balster, and his wife, Jean McNeilly Balster. Survivors include his wife, Wilma Doris Balster of Waterloo; his four children, Lynn Balster Liontos of Eugene, Oregon, Steven D. Balster of Seattle, Washington, David M. (and Barbara) Balster of Monticello, and Susan J. (Yorgos) Zazas of Miami Lakes, Florida; and his two grandsons, Brian M. Balster of Denver, Colorado and Kevin C. Balster of Los Angeles, California.
Memorials can be sent to: NCH Foundation (Natural & Cultural Heritage Foundation of the Jones County Area for The Jones County Historic Preservation Commission).
Source: Goettsch Funeral Home
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