Balzer Burckhard, the son of Lawrence and Martina (Sitter) Burckhard, was born on Oct. 26, 1923, on the family farm south of Towner, N.D. He died at the age of 90 years on Dec. 28, 2013, at the Heart of America Care Center in Rugby, N.D.
Balzer was raised on the family farm and worked hard helping milk cows, raise cattle and pitch bundles on his dad's threshing crew. He attended a country school southeast of Towner in Berwick Township. One of his fondest school memories was receiving a harmonica as a Christmas gift from one of his teachers.
In 1948, he started independently farming and ranching. He had a great love for animals. His pride and joy was his team of horses, Babe and Queen. He spoke often of them.
On Nov. 6, 1950, he was united in marriage to Helen Deibert in Rugby. They began raising their family and continued farming and ranching until 1972, when they moved into the city of Towner. For a time, he worked for Oakley Evensvold doing carpentry, and in 1976 the couple purchased J. Floyds Lounge and Package Store, changing the name to Burckhard's Lounge. They owned and operated the small town bar until retiring in 1988. Helen died in 2010.
He was a lifelong member of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Towner and was on the cemetery board for many years. He was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, served on the Parish Council, performed church maintenance and sang in the church choir. He loved to be the life of a party and was known for his love of music, particularly playing the accordion and harmonica. He enjoyed playing waltzes and polkas for all who wanted to have a good time. He even played the harmonica at his 90th birthday party, still loving to entertain.
He will be deeply missed by his children and family.
Balzer is survived by: his children, LeAnn (Peter) Smith, of Bradenton, Fla., Lenora (Paul) Dire, of Detroit Lakes, Minn., Karla (Randy) Anderson, of Towner, Glenda (Mike) Salcido, of Tulare, Calif., Bryon (Rynette) Burckhard, of Minot, Blaine (Sonda) Burckhard, of Surrey, and Terri Beth (Dave) Dufault, of Boise, Idaho; eleven grandchildren, Karissa Newby, Tara (Dallas) Hagar, Shane Anderson, Shawn (Jennifer) Anderson, Bethanie Burckhard, Kristin Burckhard, Andrew, Brent & Jacob Burckhard, Amanda (Coty) Wangen, Christopher Dufault; seven great-grandchildren, Rylah and Raegan Hager, Aubrey and Myles Anderson, Kinsley and Kambree Wangen, Ryken Dufault; siblings, Mike (Olivia) Burckhard, Catherine Boechler, Regina Klein and Mary Anna Klein; and several nieces, nephews; other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, John, Tony, Joe and William; and his parents.
Mass of Christian Burial: Will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in Towner, with spring burial in the church cemetery. Father Michael Schommer, Celebrant.
Visitation: Will be from 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, with a rosary and vigil prayer service beginning at 7 p.m., all in the church. Visitation will continue on Friday for one hour prior to the time of services at the church.
Casket Bearers: Grandsons, Shane Anderson, Shawn Anderson, Brent Burckhard, Christopher Dufault, Andrew Burckhard, Jacob Burckhard
Arrangements with the Anderson Funeral Home of Towner. Online registry: (www.funeralsbyanderson.com).