Elizabeth Fleming “Betty” Balk, 97, of Elko, SC, died Wednesday, December 30, succumbing to a heart defect. Mrs. Balk was born in Augusta, Georgia, to Frank E. Fleming, Jr and Fanny Pittman Fleming. She was the granddaughter of Frank E. Fleming Sr. and Lila Erwin Fleming of Augusta and of John Flemon Pittman and Ellen Louvinia Greer, both of Greenville, SC. Mrs. Balk was born September 3, 1923, spending her early years in Augusta. She was a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church of Augusta, where the Balk family have been members since 1859. She graduated from the Richmond Academy, marrying in 1943 her first husband, Theodore Florenz Balk, Jr, who was killed in action months later in the invasion of Sicily. Betty trained as a pilot with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, preparing to ferry aircraft to the war effort in Europe and North Africa. At the war’s end, she married Theodore’s brother Bill, a torpedo pilot at the Battle of Pelelieu. Living in Blackville, SC, Bill and Betty raised five children, and she began substitute teaching as the children got older. She returned to college for her teaching degree at the same time that her husband Bill returned to college for his advanced degree, and as all of her children were enrolled in college or preparing to do so. She retired after thirty years in 1988 as department head of history and social studies, having taught at Blackville, Williston, and Barnwell high schools. Betty served as debate coach at Barnwell High School; she was an ardent bridge player and a member of the Blackville Garden Club. Her extended trip to China, on her own, remained a highlight of her teaching years. Mrs. Balk’s husband of 65 years, Bill, died in 2010. She is survived by her sons, William A. “Will” Balk, Jr of Beaufort, SC; Theodore Florenz ”Ted” Balk of Pendleton, SC; daughters Margaret Balk “Peggy” Zeigler of Elko; and Elizabeth “Libby” Gainey Roberson of Lexington, SC. Her son Frank Erwin “Boomer” Balk died in 2015. She is also survived by grandchildren Calvin “Cal” Gainey and his wife Madeline of Gilbert, SC; William Nolan Gainey and his wife Mandy of Charleston, SC; and William Bryan Zeigler and his fiancée Erica Scott of Norfolk, VA; five great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren; sisters-in-law Jane Balk Miller of Charlotte and Carole Balk Dahlheimer of Martinez, GA; her sister Ann Fleming Levy of Clearwater, FL, predeceased her. Betty is also survived by her two very dear family friends, Rita Williams and Jannie White, whose loving attention in her last years made her remarkable life even more so. A private family burial service will be in the family plot at Westover Cemetery in Augusta, on the site which once held her great grandfather’s home place. Once social contact is reasonable again, there will be a memorial service for those wishing to remember her. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that memorial gifts be directed to South Carolina Humanities https://schumanities.org/support/friends/ or the Pat Conroy Literary Center https://patconroyliterarycenter.org/new-building-support/.
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