Judith Eileen Bale


Judith Eileen Bale died on February 22, 2023 at her home. Her passing follows an illness with respiratory diseases.

Judith Eileen Matsuoka was born on July 1, 1944 in Waimea, Hawaii to Kenneth and Yachiyo Matsuoka. She grew up in Makaweli, Kauai and graduated from Waimea High School in 1962. Judi continued her education at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology as well as Speech and Public Speaking.

Judi met her first husband, Gary Lee Ropp, while attending college. They were married on February 25, 1966. They then lived and worked in California, Florida and finally Minnesota. Sadly, in 1974, Gary passed away from brain cancer. At that time, Judi decided to stay in Minnesota and raise their three children.

Judi then met her current husband, Gary Norman Bale, and they married on November 28, 1975 in Vancouver, Washington. Judi and Gary have lived in Byron during their entire marriage of 47 years. They made lifelong memories and forever friends during their years there.

Judi was a speech pathologist, within various public-school systems, for 29 years. She is consistently remembered as a caring, knowledgeable therapist by all the students she helped. Judi was also regarded as a good friend and colleague by those she worked with. During this time, Judi also spent 9 years in part-time positions as a women’s fragrance consultant at Dayton’s / Marshall Fields. After her retirement, as a speech pathologist, she assumed a full-time position as a fragrance consultant at Herberger’s for 11 years. She was very proud of being a top credit card opener for many months.

Judi’s fondness for gambling brought her to casinos where both she and Gary enjoyed spending time. She often had a story to share about her experiences there. She truly had a “golden touch”.

Judi will always be remembered for her generosity, charisma and exuberance. As a “people person” she had the ability to make others feel special and seen. From her countless stories and humor to her musical talent, Judi was magnetic. Whether you were a student, customer, co-worker or passerby she consistently drew people in.

Judi is survived by her husband, Gary Bale of Byron, Minnesota. She is also survived by her four children, Kenneth Ropp of Germantown, Maryland, Cherie (Philip) Gartner of McLean, Virginia and their two children Alena and Ethan, Michele (Jason) Hull of Plymouth, Minnesota and her daughter Taylor, Eric (Erin) Bale of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and their three children Kamea, Braden and Edith. Judi was dearly loved as a grandma and “Little Mama” to her six grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Kenny Matsuoka of West Linn, Oregon. Judi was a light in her family’s world and will never be forgotten.

Judi was preceded in death by her first husband Gary Ropp, her parents Kenneth and Yachiyo Matsuoka and her brother Gary Matsuoka.

Visitation will be held on March 20, 2023, from 10:00am - 11:30am at Charlie’s Eatery and Pub in Rochester, Minnesota with a Remembrance Service at 11:30am. Immediately following the visitation, please join us for lunch. Judi’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Moments Hospice and all who helped them during her illness. Blessed be Judi’s memory as she transitions from this life to the next.

Aloha, until we meet again.

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