Netta Madge Choate Balke |

Netta Madge Choate Balke

The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Netta Madge Balke, 73, left this Earth on Feb. 6, 2012, surrounded by her loving family, at the Hospice Care Center in Grand Junction.

Netta was born to Stewart and Louisa May (Whitmarsh) Choate, in Stoke-on-Trent, England on Nov. 8, 1938. She spent her childhood in Midhurst, England before moving to Glasgow, Scotland where she graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy for the Performing Arts. On Dec. 9, 1961, she married the love of her life, Horst-J. Balke, in Dallas, Texas.

Netta and Horst owned and operated the Crestahaus Lodge in Aspen for many years, finally moving to Grand Junction in 2006. Netta was vivacious and her joyful spirit was contagious. She loved being around and entertaining people. A gracious hostess, she made her guests feel as if they were part of the family. As her memory declined, Netta would see people she knew on the street, whom she couldn’t quite place. She would boldly ask them, “Are you famous?”, regularly eliciting smiles.

Netta was an active member of Crossroads United Methodist Church. She enjoyed knitting, sewing, writing, and reading, but her true joy came from serving others as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. After the onset of her dementia, Netta established new hobbies including playing the piano and painting. Even after she lost her ability to speak, she amazed many by completing endless books of word search puzzles.

Netta was preceded in death by her parents. She leaves behind her husband of 50 years, Horst, daughter Erika Castle of Colorado Springs, son Stewart of Seattle, Wash., and sister Jean Pope of Annapolis, Md., as well as her five grandchildren: Heather, Amanda, John, Christopher and Andrea.

A celebration of Netta’s life will be held on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012 at Crossroads United Methodist Church beginning at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado. Condolences may be left for the family at