Cover photo for Leona Elizabeth Balek's Obituary
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1935 Leona 2024

Leona Elizabeth Balek

December 12, 1935 — May 18, 2024

Carmel, Indiana

Leona Elizabeth Balek, 88, of Carmel, passed away May 18, 2024. She was born December 12, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois the daughter of the late Charles and Hildur (Lundius) Ausland.  In 1961, she married Dr. Richard Balek who preceded her in passing in 1984.

Leona received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Illinois, and later her master’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan.  Lee met her wonderful lifelong chums Diane & Carol during her time at the University of Illinois and the three performed in the NIU marching band with Leona playing the clarinet.   Leona enjoyed a rewarding 30-year career combining her love of music and children as she served the public school system of Detroit as an elementary music teacher during which time she enjoyed lifelong friendships with Lorraine and Edie.   Interestingly, her first teaching job was at her high school alma matter, Schurz High School in Chicago.  Leona was a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Chorus known as the famed Kenneth Jewell Chorale and recorded an album with them.   Leona was an avid reader her entire life and active in the Teacher’s Union, the Unitarian Church and political groups.  She LOVED to travel and for many years, she, along with husband & college professor, Richard, and son Richie (Rick), spent the summers in the northern-most part of Michigan’s upper peninsula in a tiny town called Calumet.  Leona visited some amazing places like the Great Wall of China, the Galapagos Islands, Scandinavia, South America, all over Europe, Mexico and eventually introduced her own children & grandchildren to Cruising.  Leona had been on ~25 cruises.   After the passing of her husband Richard, she travelled with her mom, friends and family. She was generous and wanted nothing more than to spend time with Rick, Sharon and her grandkids.  Over the last few years, she looked forward to receiving her almost daily call from her son with the ‘update of the day’.  She was well loved, incredibly well cared for and will be missed by all who knew her.  Leona was always, to her core, a genuinely sweet person.  

She is survived by her loving son, Rick (Sharon) Balek; three grandchildren, Rachel (Brent) Hopkins, Brent Balek, and Chad (Maggie) Balek; great granddaughter, Sophia Hopkins; sister-in-law, Maryanne Ausland; and nephew, Erik Ausland.  She was preceded in passing by two brothers, Robert Ausland and Thomas Ausland.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, 2024, at Flanner Buchanan – Carmel, 325 East Carmel Drive.  Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. until the time of service.  Online condolences may be shared by visiting 

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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