Thelma R. Balden

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Funeral services for Thelma R. Balden 88 year old Buffalo woman who passed away Tuesday morning at the Amie Holt Care Center in Buffalo, will be held Tuesday, March 29th at 10:00 a.m. from the Harness Funeral Home Chapel in Buffalo with Father Doug Wasinger officiating. Visitation will be held on Monday the 28th from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. from the Harness Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will be in Willow Grove Cemetery with graveside services to follow the funeral. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Thelma’s name may be made to the Arts and Humanities Scholarship Fund in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo. Online condolences may be made at www.harnessfuneralhome.com

Thelma Ruth Balden was born at the family homestead, by Crazy Woman Creek, on February 17, 1928 to Frank and Florence Greitl; where she spent her childhood collecting memories which would bring to her all the vivid experiences of life on a dry land homestead; life lived with bum lambs, pet antelope, purple distances, and all that a farm offers. Thelma attended school in a one-room country school for her eight years of grade school. The family moved to Buffalo so she could attend high school. Graduating from Johnson County High School in 1945, she then attended Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas, majoring in Home Economics with an Art minor. Her second year, she attended Casper College, graduating with the first class from Casper College. Thelma married James Balden on August 22, 1948, in Buffalo, and the couple traveled to sites where employment in heavy construction took Jim. Places such as, North Dakota, Ohio, California, Utah, Oregon, South Dakota, and other interesting sites. They eventually ended up in Washington State. Many of the places were out of the way places rich in inspiration for a budding artist. Thelma took advantage of the history of these various places to round up any art teachers that were available, to study and learn what was offered. In the 1960’s she studied under Frank Sapousek in Omaha, NE. Four years of instruction with the gifted teacher and well-known artist led to a quality of work which saw her paintings juried into the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE. Thelma had a one-person exhibition in Apple Valley, CA and counts among her credits a second place in the prestigious Chicago Heights Sculpture Show. Their travels eventually took them to Spokane, WA where they lived along Hangman Creek for 27 years, where Thelma had The Busted Cinch Art Gallery and gave lessons in oil painting for about 15 years.

Thelma always had flowers growing around in her yard, whether it was a trailer house, or one like they had in Spokane with an acre of flowers. She was an accomplished seamstress making a lot of the clothes they wore. She loved to whittle and made several statues of wood, some of which were eventually cast in bronze. Quilting was another of her pastimes; she was always busy with some project or other. Thelma was an accomplished cook, always looking for new recipes to try. Jim and Thelma completed the circle by moving back to Buffalo, WY in 2002.

She is survived by her brother Henry (Hank) Greitl of Dillon Montana, sister in laws Helen (Ed) Crain and Ester Balden of Buffalo, numerous nieces and nephews, and many close friends. Thelma was preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, James Balden in 2012, her parents and one sister.