Ronald Lyon Balo
September 15, 1933 – September 22, 2020
Beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, passed away peacefully at his home in Maplewood, Minnesota, on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, one week after his 87th birthday. In the week before his death he was surrounded by family and close friends with both virtual and in person visits.
Ron was born in Akron, Ohio, on September 15, 1933, to Roe Abbot Balo and Frances Elinore (Williams) Balo. He joined his big sister, Barbara, and they grew up in the family home on Devonshire Drive. Ron graduated from Ellet High School as Valedictorian of the class of 1951. He did his undergraduate studies in Engineering on an ROTC scholarship at the University of Akron. In June of 1954, he married his high school sweetheart and the love of his life, Sarah “Sally” Sweeney, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Ellet. In the next two years they started their family while completing their fourth and fifth years at Akron U. Joan Ellen was born in March 1955 and Mary Kaye in December 1956. Ron received his commission as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Air Force and reported for active duty in Buffalo, New York in January 1957.
Ron’s Air Force career took the family to diverse corners of the country. Gail Lynn was born at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, in July 1958, and Jane Anne at Griffiss AFB in Rome, New York, in June 1962. Ron served as a liaison officer to the Department of the Navy in Washington DC and went on to earn his MA in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. In 1969, Ron was assigned to the Space and Missile Systems Organization in El Segundo, California. He spent the rest of his Air Force career on the west coast, earning multiple citations and commendations at SAMSO and retiring from the Air Force Satellite Control Facility at Moffat AFS in Sunnyvale in 1979 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He continued to work in the aerospace industry for several more years at Burke Rubber Company and Martin Marietta before really retiring and taking to the open road with Sally in their newly purchased motorhome.
Over the years, Ron studied Latin, played the trumpet, and loved the challenge of a good crossword puzzle. He taught Sunday school at base chapel and served as Clerk of Session for many years at Calvary Presbyterian. He was an honorary Girl Scout and a father figure to many more than his own four girls. He was a woodworker who crisscrossed the country building decks and furniture and doing remodeling and home improvement projects for friends and family. He was also a reader, especially of history, biography, and military campaigns. Most of all he was a friend, an uncle, a father-in-law. Unlike many retirees, he did not spend his time fishing or golfing or traveling the world. He spent it loving and supporting his children, his grandchildren, and his wife of 53 years. He was a hands-on dad before that was a thing, and he spent quality time with every single grandchild at one or more points in their life. He spent his last years getting to know some of his great grandchildren, and he even made a dear new friend in his eighties, something that not everyone can do. He was an exceptional man.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his sister, and his daughter, Gail (Timothy).
He is survived by daughters, Joan (Ricky), Mary (Thomas), and Jane (James), grandchildren Andrew (Anna), Sarah (Jason), Audrey, Justin, Rebecca (Frank), Matthew (Roseanna), Laura (Michael), Miles, Natalie (Michael), Margaret, and Elias. He is also survived by eleven great-grandchildren, two sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The celebration of Ron’s life will take place on Monday, October 26, 2020, at 2:00 pm (visitation at 1:30) at Wulff Funeral Home, 1485 White Bear Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, and via Zoom for those unable to attend in person. Interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause that Ron supported until the end.
1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Wulff Funeral Home
Wulff Funeral Home