Cover photo for Ray Lee Balderson's Obituary
Ray Lee Balderson Profile Photo
1930 Ray 2023

Ray Lee Balderson

May 29, 1930 — October 21, 2023

Ray Lee Balderson was born May 29, 1930, to Lee Ray Balderson and Edith Arillia (Delaney) Balderson and left this life on October 21, 2023. Ray lived all but the last three years of his life within five miles of Benkelman. He attended elementary and high school in Benkelman graduating in 1948. He married Eleanor Maxine Herrick on August 4, 1957. To this union four children were born. Tamara Rae in 1958; Kevin Lee in 1960; Shauna Marie in 1962; and Darren Ray in 1964.
He was a life-long member of the United Methodist church. While in high school, Ray joined the United Methodist church choir and continued singing for another 35 years as a soloist and with the men’s quartet for many, many local funerals. It is Ray’s love of music that prompted him to have a celebration of life with lots of singing.
Ray’s love of music was also apparent in how much he loved to dance. Whether this was dancing with Maxine on the country roads while waiting for the irrigation sprinklers to come to the manual stop position or square dancing on Saturday nights or teaching round dancing at the District 66 one-room schoolhouse. He was thrilled to teach his kids and grandkids how to waltz before their first school dances and continued to dance with them at their weddings.
Ray served Benkelman and Dundy County in many volunteer and service roles. He spent nine years on the Dundy County Extension Board with six of those years as the Chairman. He led the Dandy Dundy 4-H clubs specifically those for Beef, Rope Knot Tying, and Electricity. He was a life-long member of the Masonic Lodge for more than 70 years serving as the Grand Master in 1969 and again from 2016 – 2019. He was appointed to the Nebraska Ethanol Authority and Development Board by Governor Ben Nelson from 1992 to 1996. He was a board member and Chairman of the Chase/Dundy County Wheat Growers Association. He was a board member and Vice President of the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association. Ray helped organize the Southwest Nebraska Resource Conservation and Development Board and served as its first President.
Ray and Maxine made their living on the farm which was homesteaded by his grandfather in 1895 and additional acreages purchased over the years. He took pride in raising certified seed wheat, corn, alfalfa, and purebred Charolais cattle. Ray also enjoyed delivering flowers for Flower Magic, the floral business that Maxine ran for almost 25 years. In his spare time, he enjoyed being a member of the Elra Gun Club where his team won several trophies. His most satisfying hobby was refurbishing his John Deere tractor collection and giving rides to family members big and small on the coveted Model 40 Crawler tractor.
In their later years, Ray and Maxine enjoyed helping look after their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many memories were made taking the kids camping, boating, and teaching them to fish. In 2010, Ray was selected as a finalist for Nebraska Father of the Year. His family loved him dearly.
Ray is preceded in death by his parents, daughter, Tamara, nephew, Jim, brother-in-law, Ronnie, and sister-in-law, Rea.
Ray is survived by Maxine, his wife of 66 years, children Kevin (Diane), Shauna, Darren (Melinda), nine grandkids, twelve great grandkids, brother Frank (Betty), brother-in-law, Roger (Jackie), sisters-in-law Patsy (Tom), and Joyce (Don), nephews and nieces, his farming neighbors, and his new neighbors at the Landing.
Visitation will be held Thursday October 26, from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Benkelman memorial chapel

A funeral service will be held Friday, October 27 10:30 A.M at United Methodist Church in Benkelman with Reverend Art Phillips officiating. Interment to follow at the Benkelman Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Maxine Balderson for a designation later.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ray Lee Balderson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, October 26, 2023

Starts at 5:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, October 27, 2023

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