Cover photo for Erna Lee (Bendele) Balzen's Obituary
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1934 Erna 2024

Erna Lee (Bendele) Balzen

July 2, 1934 — March 15, 2024

Erna Lee Bendele Balzen passed away peacefully on March 15, 2024, at the age of 89. Born July 2, 1934 at her childhood home in Upper-Quihi, she was the daughter of Ernest A. and Alice (Haby) Bendele. Erna attended the one-room school in Quihi and went on to graduate with the class of 1952 from Hondo High School.

She married Joe Harris Balzen in 1953 and shortly after his completion of service in the U.S. Army, they made their home in San Antonio. Erna cherished her role of creating a comfortable home for Joe and their children, Donald, and Patricia. She enjoyed canning, baking, serving in the PTA at the children’s school, and was an excellent seamstress. After becoming “empty nesters” they moved to Quihi where they lived throughout their retirement years.

She very much enjoyed any and all gatherings of extended family and friends. Favorite pastimes were playing cards, two-stepping & waltzing to favorite country tunes, gambling, crocheting, and bird watching from her front porch. Above all, she adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and spent many hours supporting them in a variety of activities, including livestock shows, theatrical plays, dance recitals, and sporting events. She loved sporting events and was a true Hondo Owl fan; she and Joe have held the same season tickets at Barry Field for over 50 years. She was a member of the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, and served several years there in the Altar Society, and with the Mourning Glory Bereavement Group.

Erna was preceded in death by her parents; her parents-in-law Hugo and Luren Balzen; infant son; brother and sister-in-law Hilmer and Melrose Bendele; brother-in-law Ferd Rothe; sister-in-law Joyce Landrum.

She leaves behind her husband of over 70 years, Joe; children Donnie (Becky) Balzen, and Patti (Randy) Graff. Grandchildren and their families, Holly (Josh) Duty, Graden, Judson; Cody (Meredith) Balzen, Thomas, Shannon; Amy (Ian) Fisher; Tim (Laura) Graff, Nolan, Easton, Vivian; Tyler (Kelly) Graff, Victor, Vincent, Vanna; Tessa (Chris) Taylor. Sister Elsie Rothe; brother and sister-in-law Ernest and Fanita Bendele; brother-in-law Lester Landrum. Many friends, cousins, nieces, and nephews whom she dearly loved.

Services arranged by Hondo Funeral Home for Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at St. John’s Catholic Church in Hondo. Visitation at 11 a.m., rosary recited at 11:30 a.m. and Funeral Mass at noon, followed by interment at Quihi Cemetery.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Erna Lee (Bendele) Balzen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

11:00 - 11:30 am (Central time)

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church

2102 Avenue J, Hondo, TX 78861

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church

2102 Avenue J, Hondo, TX 78861

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church

2102 Avenue J, Hondo, TX 78861

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Quihi Cemetery

Hondo, TX

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