Dec. 6, 2018 – West Bend, WI – It is with a heavy heart to relay the news of the death of Franklin Bales of West Bend.
Franklin and his wife Margaret were featured in an article this past October 25 highlighting their 70th wedding anniversary.
It was Sept. 25, 1948 when Franklin Bales and Margaret Weninger recited their vows to remain faithful and committed for the rest of their lives.
Franklin, 91, was born on the family farm on Rusco Drive in West Bend. He and Margaret, 90, met at a dance.
“Our farm was just a mile west of Gonring’s Resort. I had broken up with a different guy and me and my girlfriends were standing there and then he (Franklin) came over and asked me to dance. Then he asked to take me home, then he asked me to another dance and from there we kept on going.”
Margaret said she “didn’t think of marriage right away. She just liked being with him.”
“I liked his laugh,” said Margaret. “We had fun.”
Margaret was 18 years old when she met Franklin. She worked at Amity Leather at the time.
Franklin was 19 and a half and he worked on the family farm.
“I like her because she was easy going,” he said. “I could handle that.”
When Margaret turned 20 she and Franklin tied the knot.
The wedding photos look straight out of ‘June Bride’ featuring an elegant Margaret and a dapper Franklin surrounded by a wedding party of eight set against a backdrop of blue skies, two meaty columns and drapes.
“The photographer didn’t come to the wedding, we had to go to the photographer,” Margaret said.
Franklin recalled a delayed honeymoon as chores on the dairy farm took precedent.
“She had to can pears before we left and I had to fill the silo again,” he said.
A couple days later the pair were off gallivanting. “We drove into Canada and circled around a bit just so we could tell our friends we were in Canada,” said Margaret.
The couple moved in to Franklin’s home. “I’ve always live here,” he said. “Our bedroom is the room I was born in.”
Franklin C. Bales, 91 of West Bend passed away on Wednesday, December 5 at his home surrounded by his family. Franklin was born February 14, 1927, Valentine’s Day. This was appropriate since there was great love shown by Franklin for each of the family members in his very large extended family and he was loved by each family member as well. The greatest love was for his wife of 70 years, Margaret.
This special 70th anniversary on September 25, 2018 was honored with an event at the family farm attended by more than 40 family members. This was the dairy farm that Franklin was born on, grew up on, worked as a dairy farm and continued to live on in retirement until he passed away. The farm will be a century farm next year being in the Bales family for 100 years.
Franklin was the son of Frank C. and Agnes (nee Bahr) Bales and was predeceased by his parents, his son Paul in 1981 as well as 6 brothers and sisters: Ray (Loretta), Alex (Marie), Sylvester (Alice), Delores (Robert) Hoeft, Rosalie (Walter) Hoeft and Sylvia Belunes.
Franklin is survived by his sons Larry (Ruth Ann) Bales and Jim (Mayuli) Bales, daughters: Kathy (Rick) Stodola, Geralyn (Gary) Kobs, Rosemary (Erv) Kutz and Joan (Darren) Blankenship. He is also survived by grandchildren: Brenda (Brent) Henschel, Jackie (Jeff) Beers, Nathan (Rachael) Stodola, Luke Stodola, Claire Stodola, Fernando Bales, Stephanie Bales, Tommy Bales, Ingrid (Andrew) Boutin, Andy Bales, Jason (Melissa) Kobs, Jessica Kobs, Kevin Kobs, Mitchell Kutz, Tyler Kutz and Ryan Kutz as well as great-grandchildren: Bryce Henschel, Cayden Henschel, Carter Henschel, Macey Henschel, Ella Henschel, Ashton Beers, Andrew Beers, Alicia Beers, Amaya Beers, Alex Beers, Lillian Stodola, Madeline Kobs and Grace Kobs. He is further survived by his brother-in-law Eugene Belunes, nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.
Franklin will always be known for his happy laugh, storytelling, willingness to help anyone no matter how busy farm life kept him, being a trusted advisor and always leading by example on how to live a good Christian life. But most of all Franklin was devoted to Margaret and as a team they grew more than crops and produced more than milk on their beloved family farm. They grew and produced a strong family as well. Franklin and Margaret never missed Sunday Mass until age prevented travel. Mealtime prayers, evening rosary, while holding hands and prayers throughout the day exemplified their devout faith.
Well into his 80’s Franklin volunteered at the Samaritan Health Center, St. Frances Cabrini and Meals on Wheels.
Over the years extensive travel was made throughout the country. Sheepshead was a passion of his and Franklin and Margaret had several groups of friends they played with over the years. Franklin has now played his last hand but we are sure that if sheepshead is played in heaven, he is already dealing out the cards.
Visitation will be on Monday, December 10 from 2:00 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 1025 S. Seventh Ave, West Bend with a Mass of Christian Burial at 4:00 p.m. Burial will take place Tuesday in Holy Angels Cemetery, Memorials, in lieu of flowers to the Paul Bales Memorial Scholarship at UWM Washington County or to St. Frances Cabrini Parish are appreciated.
Our family has lost a real treasure but we are all blessed to carry a bit of his spirit within us.
The Schmidt Funeral Home in West Bend is serving the family.