Horst-J Balke was born in Berlin, Germany, and spent his childhood in St. Johann, Tirol, Austria, before he immigrated to the U.S. in 1954. He enlisted in the Army as a paratrooper and served from 1957 to 1960. Horst lived in Dallas, Texas, where he adopted American culture by becoming a Dallas Cowboys fan. In 1961 he met and married the love of his life, Netta Madge Choate. The couple settled in Oklahoma City, where Horst completed his accounting degree at Oklahoma City University, and where their two children were born. From 1972 to 1985, Horst jointly owned and operated the Crestahaus Lodge in Aspen, Colorado. While in Aspen he delighted in skiing, hiking, fishing, and paragliding. After moves to Basalt and Colorado Springs, Horst and Netta settled in Grand Junction. Both were active members at Crossroads United Methodist Church, where they made many dear friends. In retirement, Horst devoted his time to caring for his dear wife and working on his extensive stamp collection. Horst and Netta were married 50 years before her death on February 6, 2012. Exactly seven years later, she called Horst to join her in Heaven. Horst is survived by his daughter, Erika Castle (Dick); son, Stewart (Cheryl); brothers, Frank and Per; sister, Hedda; and his five grandchildren, Heather, Amanda, John, Christopher and Andrea. A celebration of Horst’s life will be held Saturday March 2 at Crossroads United Methodist Church beginning at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow at Martin Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Philatelic Society at stamps.org or HopeWest, 3090B N. 12th St., Grand Junction, 81506.
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