Charles "Chuck" Balcom

Charles "Chuck" Balcom


December 22, 1932 - December 14, 2023


Charles H. “Chuck” Balcom, passed away on Thursday, December 14, 2023 at the age of 90 on the farm he loved in Mitchell, SD. A memorial service is scheduled at 10:00 am on Friday, June 28, 2024, at the First United Methodist Church in Mitchell, SD, with refreshments immediately following the service. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Chuck, the youngest of 6 children, was born on December 22, 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Claude and Bessie Mae (Yeamens) Balcom. In 1933, they moved from Omaha to Rapid City, SD. His father, Claude, formed the “Balcom Harmonica Band” with all 6 children playing different kinds of harmonicas. They performed at theater intermissions, parties, and other local events. At the age of 8, Chuck began running a team of horses, climbing onto the fence to harness the team. He was a lifelong horse lover and rode quarter horses well into his 80’s, sharing this love with his children and grandchildren.

Chuck graduated from Rapid City Central High School in 1951 where he lettered in music. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines, transferring to the University of South Dakota to complete dual Bachelor of Science Degrees in Business and Engineering.

After graduation from USD, Chuck took a position with General Mills in Toledo, Ohio, as the plant manager at their soybean processing facility which burned down 3 days before his first day of work. In 1960, Chuck and MaryLou moved to Mitchell, where he owned and managed Mitchell Motor Company, a GM and Jeep dealership, until 1989, when he semi-retired. In 1973-74 he served as President of the South Dakota Auto Dealers Association. GM continued to use him as a consultant to problem solve for auto dealerships throughout the United States

In 1990, he opened Consultants, Ltd, in Mitchell, doing business consulting in the western half of the United States. In 1992, at the age of 60, he earned a degree as a Certified Financial Planner from the College of Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado. He continued doing business consulting and financial planning until his retirement in 2022.

In high school, Chuck was working as a ditch digger near the old cement plant, when he spotted MaryLou Mordhorst near her home. He asked her brother Robert who she was, instantly falling head-over-heals. On their first date, Chuck declared, “MaryLou Mordhorst, I’m going to marry you someday”, to which she replied, “Chuck Balcom, if you don’t stop talking like that, I’ll never go out with you again!”. On May 30, 1951, the day after his high school graduation, he married MaryLou, the love of his life. They celebrated 70 years of marriage in May of 2021, just 2 weeks before she passed from leukemia.

Chuck and MaryLou were avid backpackers, completing several 50 mile treks in the mountains of the western United States. They were also avid fishermen, fishing for walleye on the Missouri River,   sheepshead and speckled trout while wintering with Robert and Martha Mordhorst in Port Aransas, Tx, and northern pike at Highrock Lake in northern Saskatchewan. They also traveled extensively in their 5th wheel and pick-up campers, including 2 trips to Alaska with friends Sid and Marion Phelps.

Chuck began beekeeping in the 1960s, keeping his hives at the Watson farm southeast of Mitchell. In 1978, Chuck and MaryLou, purchased the Watson farm and began their life in the country, raising sheep and cattle, keeping horses, and farming row crops.

Chuck was a licensed and active commercial private pilot for many years, flying both single and multi-engine aircraft. He especially enjoyed giving his 14 grandchildren rides in his yellow,1948 J3 Piper Cub. He was very pleased when his grandson, Ken, purchased the Piper Cub.

As a lifelong musician, Chuck played with dance bands from Ohio to Texas and throughout the upper Midwest. Although he was most renowned for his tenor sax work, he also played the alto sax, clarinet, and chromatic harmonica. He led his own bands in high school and college, the Mitchell based “CJ Rusken Big Band”, and played with the Mitchell Municipal Band for over 40 years, serving as the band’s MC. He was the choir director at the First Baptist Church in Mitchell for many years and enjoyed singing at every opportunity. On May 29, 2009, he was inducted into the Dakota Music Hall of Fame in Aberdeen, SD.

Chuck served on the Mitchell United Way Board, was a past member of the Kiwanis Club, a lifelong member of the Masonic Order, and a member of the Ethan United Methodist Church.

Chuck always made sure that his family took center stage, attending countless concerts, performances, sporting events, graduations and weddings. Both friends and family sought his fair and wise counsel for finance, business, and life.

Chuck’s values of Family, Faith, and personal and business Integrity were hallmarks of a life Well Lived, and set an example to all who knew him.

Chuck is survived by his 5 children: Cindy (Bruce) Morgan, Rapid City, SD, Sheryl (Chuck) Miech, Evansville, Wy, John (Peggy) Balcom, Florence, OR, Jody (Terry) Hall, Rapid City, SD, and Scott (Kathy) Balcom, Mitchell, SD, 14 grandchildren, 35 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wife MaryLou, his parents, 4 brothers, and 1 sister.

The family would like to convey their deep gratitude for the cards, phone calls, and other expressions of sympathy from friends and family.


Friday, June 28, 2024
10:00 AM
First United Methodist Church
310 N Rowley St
Mitchell, SD 57301

Posted by Jay Phelps on February 18, 2024
Chuck was always happy and fun to be around. I recall he and my brother it’s the trail creek campground having a lot of fun and maybe a beer or so. Will
Posted by Cindy Lias on January 7, 2024
My husband David & I rented their house on W. 5th street from 1983 to 1992. He was a sweet man & wonderful landlord. Our deepest sympathy!
Posted by Todd &Kiara Snedeker- family on January 2, 2024
Sorry to hear of Chuck passing, he was a wonderful neighbor, our family always enjoyed visiting with him and seeing him, he will be dearly missed 💕
Posted by Judy Backlund Gohl on December 30, 2023
I had such a fun visit with Chuck at his sister's memorial a couple of years ago. It was fun to talk to him about "our" farm. He took good care of it for many years after he bought it from my folks. They had been good neighbors to my folks for many years before that. His sister, Vicky and her family, were our neighbors in Sioux Falls. God bless his family as they celebrate his homegoing.
Posted by Denny and Pat Dicus on December 22, 2023
Sympathy to the family. Always enjoyed visiting with Chuck.
Posted by Mary Wingfield on December 22, 2023
Chuck was a wonderful man. I am sorry to hear that he has passed on. My sympathy is with all of you.
Posted by Britt Bruner on December 18, 2023
Chuck was an amazing man! I enjoyed his view of the world! God’s Peace
Posted by Rich hofer on December 17, 2023
My good neighbor will be missed gods blessing to the family
Posted by Doug Balcom on December 17, 2023
Uncle Chuck was a sweet man -- the last & youngest of my dad's siblings. I hope to attend his memorial in Mitchell.
Posted by Donald and Donna Tilberg on December 16, 2023
So sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing, you are all in our thoughts and prayers are with the family
Posted by Kelly Tobin on December 16, 2023
So sorry to hear of Chuck's passing. He and Mary Lou were such good friends to our family. My sympathies to all of you.
Posted by Tim Coates on December 15, 2023
I’ll sorry to hear about Chuck’s passing, I will always be grateful for his support while growing up.
Posted by Charlie and Darlene Bailey on December 15, 2023
Sorry to hear about Chuck's passing Rest in Peace my friend
Posted by Janice & Doug Johnson on December 15, 2023
Our sympathy to Chuck 's family!
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