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Ruth H. Balmes WILLIAMS

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“So sorry for your loss. Sending love & prayers! R.I.P. sweet neighbor... ”
1 of 6 | Posted by: Maria

“So sorry you lost your mom Aunt Mary, you had her a long time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours! ”
2 of 6 | Posted by: Mary Thibodeau

“With our thoughts and prayers for your lost ”
3 of 6 | Posted by: Phyllis & Michael Cunningham - IL

“We are friends of Dan Balmes and want to extend our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of Ruth Balmes Williams, she was a remarkable...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Bernie & Mary Alice Brice - IL

“I'll miss my tough and spirited Grandma. Thank you for paving the way for all of the amazing women who followed you. And thank you for creating a...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Stacy Schwenke

“I love you Grandma. Part of my life for 54 years. My feeling of loss and emptiness is overwhelming. ”
6 of 6 | Posted by: Brett Schwenke


Ruth Balmes Williams passed away August 30, 2016 at home in the presence of her loving family. She left earth to be with Jesus, her Lord and Savior. Ruth was born on December 19, 1917 in Republic, Michigan, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Makela. She graduated from Ishpeming High School in 1935 and then attended Northern Michigan Teachers College. She was a homemaker in the following years and in the late 60's, attended Wayne State University and became a licensed audiologist who then worked in Upper Michigan schools. Ruth and her husband, Wayne, spent many years supporting St. Michael Catholic Church where they were two of its founding parishioners. She enjoyed bowling, playing bridge, dancing and swimming especially in the Lake Superior Picnic Rocks area waters. Ruth was preceded in death by her husbands, Wayne Balmes in 1968 and Bill Williams in 2011; her sisters, Helmi (Charles) Ericson and Ellen Makela; her brothers, Everett and Earl (Marcella) Makela and nephew, Gordon Ericson. Ruth's survivors with her late husband, Wayne Balmes, include daughters, Juliann (Wayne) Schwenke, Betty (David) Anderson and Mary (Tom) Zorza; sons, Dan and Rich (Gloria) Balmes. She had 13 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, 1 great, great grandchild and a cousin, Merva (Rev. Albert) Hautamaki. Ruth's second husband, Bill, also a family man, left his daughters, Carol (Don) Koski and Suzanne (Gary) Salzmann and their children, Kris King, Dawn (John) Polino, Kathryn (Robert) Woyak, Michelle (Brad James) Burke; grandchildren and great grandchildren; also a step-daughter, Pat (Bill) Jensen. Ruth's escorts at her funeral will be her grandchildren, Brett, Scott, Stacy and Jill Schwenke, Rob and Brian (Ngoc) Balmes, Brynn (Josh) Olearnick, Josie (Tim) Strom, Lt. Col. Greg (Alicia) Bodenstein (USAF), Lisa (Jay) Foster, Jason (Jessica) Anderson, Jeff Zorza and Jennifer (Eric) Jaeger. Friends may gather at St. Michael Catholic Church on Saturday, September 3rd where visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 12 noon with Rev. Greg Heikkala officiating. Burial will take place later at the Holy Cross Cemetery. The Ruth Balmes family would like to thank all of the caretakers from U.P. Home Hospice and Private Duty Services (especially super nurse Elyssa) and caretakers, Melissa Koepp and Linda Havican for all of their devoted care of our mother and grandmother. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Michael Catholic Church, 401 W. Kaye Ave., Marquette, MI 49855, St. Vincent de Paul Society, 2119 Presque Isle Ave., Marquette, MI 49855 or U.P. Home Health and Hospice, 1414 W. Fair Ave., Marquette, MI 49855. The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home is assisting the family where memories may be shared at canalefuneral.com