A celebration of life for Mary Patt (Abbott) Balk, 88, of Washington, will be held Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 3:00 pm at the Beatty Funeral Home in Washington. A time of visitation with the family will be held from 2-3 pm. A memorial fund has been established for the Washington Public Library and the Washington YMCA. Mary Patt Balk died Thursday, October 6, 2016 at Halcyon House in Washington.
Mary Patt (Abbott) Balk was born June 5, 1928 in Rochester, Minnesota, the daughter of Dr. Walter D. and Ada Lee (Carroll) Abbott. Shortly after the family moved to Des Moines, Iowa where she grew up. Mary Patt attended St. Augustin grade school and graduated from St. Josephs Academy in 1946. She attended Monticello Girls College in Alton, Illinois and the University of Iowa. On September 20, 1952 she was united in marriage to Francis (Jack) Balk at St. Augustin Catholic Church in Des Moines. The couple moved to Shullsburg, Wisconsin where she was very active in the girl scouts and moved to Aledo, Illinois, where again she was actively involved in Girl Scouts. The family then moved to Bettendorf, Iowa and remained there until moving to Washington, Iowa in 1969. Mary Patt worked as an aquatics instructor at the YMCA-YWCA for 35 years. She served as Aquatic Director from 1975 – 1988. She was instrumental in starting the pre school porgram and specialized in that area for many years. Mary Patt was one of the first Special Olympic coaches in Iowa and enjoyed working with people with special needs. In later years she helped develop the Joint Effort program and taught that class for many years.
Survivors include two daughters: Kate Gerard of Cedar Rapids, IA., Abbe (Adam) Rocha of Des Moines, IA., and one grandson Zach (Stacy) Dawson of Washington, D.C.
Preceding Mary Patt in death were her parents, her husband Jack in 2007, one brother Tommy and one sister Nancy.