Tracie M. Balitz Biography
Tracie M. Balitz (Arnold), 1967.

Tracie M. Balitz Biography

Tracie was born to Fredrick Balitz and Mary S. Kucks in Honor [Platte Township], Benzie, Michigan, USA on Friday, September 11, 1896.

Who is Tracie to you? The following is not a complete list of relatives/descendants, but if you recognize any of these names, it may help you answer that question.

  • Mother of Laban Daniel Arnold and Alvin Ernest Arnold.
  • Grandmother of Joyce, Dan, Gloria, Mike, Valerie, Teresa, Sally, Carol, and Roger.
  • Great grandmother to Kelly Jean, David Michael, David Daniel, Steven Michael, Gina Joy, Kristen Marie, Bradley Jay, Joseph Michael, Matthew Allen, Daniel Scott, Jennifer Lynn, Jaysson Solomon-Elijah, Job Gabriel-Elisha, Sarah Kaylynn, Kandy Kay, Randy William, Scott Anthony, Joy Ann, Beth Ann, and Anne Marie.
  • 2nd great grandmother to Danielle Rose, Dutch Reese, William Henry, Nolan Anthony, Nickolas Anthony, Sydney Kay, Wyatt Anthony, Kari Nikole, Kali Ryann, Brett Mikalary, Samantha Marie, Spencer Jay, Megan Armenia, Dominic Daniel, Tristen Jay, Zachary Todd, Kayla, and 20+ young folks.
  • 3rd great grandmother to other young folks.

You seldom see Tracie’s middle initial “M”, especially in later years, but you will find it in the July 3, 1916 record of her marriage, the 1920 & 1930 census, and her 1916 marriage license.

It is reasonable to assume the “M” was from her mother Mary, or from her grandmother Johanne Marie, but neither can be proved at this time.


Tracie’s brother Ernest Fred Balitz (Fred) was born in May 1899 when she was 2.


On June 7, 1900 it was reported that Tracy (Census-Name: Tracy Balitz), 2 years of age, was born in Michigan and currently lived in Platte, Benzie, Michigan. Her mother and father were born in Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. She lived in a household of 7. The 1900 census, unlike others, provides month and date-of-birth, in addition to age. Tracy is reported as being born in September of 1897. Based on the age of 2 given to the census official, her birth year is 1897/1898.

Source: 1900 Census [1900-US-Census-Michigan-Benzie-Platte, District 8, Sheet 2B]

Brother Leo William Balitz joined the family in October 1906 when Tracie was 10.

When Tracie turned 11 in September of 1907, she was in the fourth grade at Platte school on Fowler Road.

In June 1909, at age 12, Tracie was promoted from fifth to sixth grade at Platte school.


On May 2, 1910 it was reported that Tracie (Census-Name: Tracie Balitz), 13 years of age, was born in Michigan and currently lived on a farm they owned without a mortgage in Platte, Benzie, Michigan. Her mother and father were born in Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. She lived in a household of 5. Tracie was able to read, able to write, and able to speak English. Tracie was currently attending school. Based on the age given to the census official, her birth year is 1896/1897.

Source: 1910 Census [1910-US-Census-Michigan-Benzie-Platte, District 10, Sheet 5A]

In 1912, at age 16 assuming September, Tracie was still attending Platte school. Classmates included Lottie Arnold, and Ernest and Leo Balitz.

On November 26, 1914, Tracie “published” a mock newspaper called the “Platte Gossiper”. Among other “news”, Tracie predicted her future marriage to Dan Arnold – 20 months in advance of it actually happening.

Tracie married Daniel S. Arnold in Benzonia, Benzie, Michigan, USA on Monday, July 3, 1916.

My mom and dad eloped to get married. My mom’s parents had someone picked out for mom but she wanted no part of it. My mom’s parents didn’t like or care for my dad and I don’t know all the reasons why. Some time in July however my mom and dad got together, eloped to Beulah (county seat) and were married by a justice of the peace. The transportation was by horse and buggy, a distance of about 15 miles. They stayed overnight before coming home to announce their marriage.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

At the time of their marriage they lived in Platte township, Benzie county, MI. In fact she lived in Platte for the first 75 years of her life.

Tracie was 20 years old in September of 1917 when her first of four children, all boys was born.

Children of Tracie and Daniel include:


On January 2, 1920 it was reported that Tracie (Census-Name: Tracie M. Arnold), 23 years of age, was born in Michigan and currently lived in Platte, Benzie, Michigan. Her mother and father were born in Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. She lived in a household of 3, was married, and did not work outside the home. Tracie was able to read, able to write, and able to speak English. Based on the age given to the census official, her birth year is 1896/1897.

Source: 1920 Census [1920-US-Census-Michigan-Benzie-Platte, District 11, Sheet 1A]

Yes, I remember the horse and buggy. I remember my mother taking the horse and buggy seven miles into town, to get food and of course I would go with her. My mother told of having to get a stick and remove snakes out of the road because the horse wouldn’t approach them.

In the winter, several neighbors had fixed a cabin shelter on a large sleigh, about four feet wide by six feet long, to keep the cold weather out when they would drive to town. Some even had little stoves in them. You could compare them to a modern day fish shanty.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

Intentional or otherwise, Tracie did a great job of spreading the birth of her sons over time, having each of her sons four years apart. The roaring twenties brought Allen in 1921, Alton in 1925, and Laban with the start of the depression in 1929.

My youngest brother, Laban, was born during this time – October 10, 1929.

The country was in great depression at this time but being on the farm it didn’t bother us much as we had enough to eat. In the big cities there were soup lines and many people out of work with nothing in sight for them. My dad was still in charge (working foreman) so he made enough money to keep us going.

My mother had to make or bake all of our food. If we ever got a box of corn flakes that was a great treat.

On Saturday night when the folks would go to town for the week’s food, dad would usually get us a candy bar or ice cream cone. That was our treat for the week.

I do remember one thing that I enjoyed very much – my dad was an avid fisherman and hunter and he taught me at an early age. I remember him taking a neighbor and me by horse and buggy after work to the lake four miles away. We fished almost in the dark, and then came home to clean fish. We did eat a lot of fish and mom could fix them well and it sure helped out with the food bill.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

On April 10, 1930 it was reported that Tracie (Census-Name: Tracie M. Arnold), 33 years of age, was born in Michigan and currently lived in a $75/month rental [DEA: Census says Rental $75, but this is much more likely the value of the farm than the monthly rent.] on a farm, with a radio, in Platte, Benzie, Michigan. Her mother and father were born in Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively. She lived in a household of 6, was married, and did not work outside the home/farm. Tracie was able to read/write and speak English. Based on the age given to the census official, her birth year is 1896/1897. Given that approximate birth year and the given “age of first marriage”, that marriage took place within a couple years of 1916.

Source: 1930 Census [1930-US-Census-Michigan-Benzie-Platte, District 10-17, Sheet 2B]

Tracie was 33 when her 24-year-old brother, Leo, died in April 1930.

[Uncle Leo] died in the early 1930’s from a broken appendix. My grandmother tells of him lying on the floor in pain and begging for a gun to shoot himself. He died shortly after that. There were no ambulances or paramedics at that time out in the farm area.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

In 1934 her 16-year-old son, Alvin, got sick and nearly died:

As I recall it was a severe winter and sometime in March or early April of 1934, I contracted pleural pneumonia and nearly lost my life. The great efforts of my mother and Grandmother Balitz were all that saved me.

In the early stages, they used poultices of cooked oatmeal and/or onions. I was in and out of consciousness and in severe pain with pleurisy. Then, my folks called in a doctor and I believe he didn’t have much more to offer than aspirin. I was flat on my back and very weak. Finally, this doctor called in another doctor (surgeon) and they decided they would have to drain fluid from my right lung. Dr. Covey was from Honor and the surgeon, a Dr. Thatcher or Thacker as I remember was from Frankfort. So they met at our house one morning to proceed with the operation.

My mother and grandmother held my hands and my dad held my feet, while the doctors made a slit between a couple of ribs and inserted drainage tubes to leave in place for a few days. This was done without the benefit of painkillers. I screamed but they didn’t stop. It hurt awfully, especially going into an infected area. They drained a lot of fluid and bandaged it to catch the fluid as it drained. The pain of the pleurisy remained but I did start to eat and gain a little strength back.

My grandmother, who lived about a half mile away, was at my side for a long time as my mother did the other work. Slowly, I was nursed back to health.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

Dan and Tracie’s son, Alton, succumbed to double pneumonia on July 11, 1934 after a month-long illness.

Then, sometime in June, brother Alton also got pneumonia similar to what I had. They did the poultice thing with him also, but didn’t operate to insert drainage tubes. He went through quite a long sick period and seemed to be improving.

I remember the morning he woke up out of a semi coma; he said, “I’m hungry and want something to eat”.

My mom fixed him something to eat and he ate a bit of food. Alton then lay back in bed and died. My dad was working in the field close by and they told me to get him, because my mother almost went out of control. I remember her taking it awfully hard. Only at this time could I know the feeling. Alton was just under eight years old. It was July 11, 1934 that he died.

Fortunately, Allen and Laban escaped getting serious ill with this pneumonia.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

I soon bought my second car – a “Model A” Ford roadster with rumble seat . . . Going back a bit, I was doing some driving of my dad’s Model T before I reached 14 when my dad was along. The day that I was 14 my grandfather Balitz took me to Beulah (county seat) to get my driver’s license . . . From then on I usually drove mom into town for groceries and that saved my dad from going. My mother never did learn to drive and I don’t think she had any desire to do so.

[Probably late 1930’s] I think I got up to Honor about every third week. That’s when I would have a longer weekend. Depending on the particular season, mom, dad, Allen, Laban and I would go fishing or mushroom hunting or whatever seemed to be the best thing to do at the time. I usually tried to write mom a note if I thought I was going to come but sometimes I would go on the spur of the moment due to an extra day off. There were no phones up there so no way to relay a message. I was always welcome. I think Allen and Laban were anxious to see how I was making out in the city. Mom always had a feast ready.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

On April 6, 1940 it was reported that Tracie (Census-Name: Tracie Arnold), 43 years of age, was born in Michigan and currently lived on a farm they owned valued at $150 in Platte, Benzie, Michigan. This is the same place she lived five years prior. She lived in a household of 4, was married, and did not work outside the home/farm. Tracie had completed grade 8, and had not recently been in school. Based on the age given to the census official, her birth year is 1896/1897.

Source: 1940 Census [1940-US-Census-Michigan-Benzie-Platte, District 10-19, Sheet 2A]

Fred Balitz, Tracie’s dad, passed in March of 1943 at the age of 72. Tracie was 46 at the time.


Mary Kucks, Tracie’s mom, passed in October of 1953 at the age of 76. Tracie was 57 at the time.

In 1953 [Note difference in year from comment below] we had my mother fly out from Michigan and that proved to be quite a treat for her and our family also. In the following years she would make more trips after dad had died. She didn’t mind flying at all.

Alvin E. Arnold Memoirs

Some time in 1954, Tracie made a trip by air to visit Alvin and his family in California. From the local newspaper on her return:

Mrs. Dan Arnold of Honor recently returned from a four week vacation in California, a guest of her son and family, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Arnold and three children.

Alvin, who graduated from the Honor high school in 1937, resided in Muskegon for several years and two years ago moved to 6570 Myrtle Street, North Long Beach, California.

Mrs. Arnold attended the ‘Queen For a Day’ television show in Hollywood and also visited points of interest at Lake Arrowhead, Pasadena and Laguna Beach.

The trip between Michigan and California was made by commercial airline.

Honor Woman Enjoys Vacation, Local Newspaper

According to her December 11, 1956 application for a Social Security Account Number, Tracie was employed by E. J. [Ellsworth] Esch, and born in Honor, Benzie, Mich.


By February of 1974, Tracie was 77 years old and had been married to Dan, the love of her life, for over 57 years when he died suddenly of a heart attack at age 83.

I was called into the principal’s office that morning during my senior year in high school and my mom told me the news over the phone while my dad was on his way to my school to bring me home. It was my first experience with death in the family and I remember being totally devastated. Many years later, having been married for a long time myself, I can only imagine how difficult this was for Grandma Tracie.

Daniel E. Arnold Memoirs

An auction was held at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, April 13, 1974 to sell much of the property that had belonged to Daniel, including:

  • Antique Kitchen Cabinet (flour drawer)
  • Old Fashioned Kitchen Wood Stove
  • Two Good Wood Burning Heaters
  • Antique Treadle Sewing Machine
  • Allis Chalmers Tractor
  • Nash Rambler Station Wagon
  • Windmill in Excellent Condition (just painted a patriotic red, white, blue)

An appraisal of the homestead was performed, at a cost of $40, in August of 1974. The following is from that appraisal:

Land: Approximately 17 acres, rolling, 5-7 acres leased to Ellsworth Esch for Christmas trees, approx. 5 acres maples and beech, 5 acres open, maple shade trees around house, blacktop road frontage – approx. 400 feet. $8,500.

House: Wood space heater & stove, no insulation, frame construction, no hot water, 3 bedrooms, unstable flooring, sagging roof and walls, no tub or shower, salvageable materials would not offset cost of removal. -$100.

Barn: Roof in good condition, can be used for storage. $200.

Total Appraised Value: $8,600.

Appraisal, August 26, 1974

The homestead was soon sold and Tracie proceeded to take turns living with her sons: Alvin in California, Allen in South Haven, and Laban in Muskegon.


In June 1980, when Tracie was 83, her son Allen died at the age of 58.

Three years later, in April of 1983, her brother 83-year-old brother Ernie passed away.

Her son Laban passed away in February 1987 when Tracie was 90 years old. Laban was only 57.

Tracie was blood type O+, based on blood work done in June, 1987.

Tracie passed away while living in Roosevelt Park nursing home in Muskegon, Muskegon, MI, USA on Monday, February 1, 1988 at the age of 91. Cause of death was listed as Cardiac Arrhythmia, due to chemical imbalance, due to chronic nephrotic syndrome, and interstitial nephritis [DEA: Sounds like kidneys to me]. She was cremated and buried alongside her husband in Platte cemetery.

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