Nikki Kendall Balch

October 11, 1939 ~ April 12, 2021 (age 81)


Nikki Kendall Balch, 81, passed away Monday, April 12, 2021, surrounded by family in her Boise home.

Born October 11, 1939, in Boise, Idaho, Nikki was the daughter of Elise and Glenn Balch, a celebrated Idaho author. Inspired by her father’s novels, Nikki enrolled at the University of Missouri, where she received a degree in journalism. Once returning home to Idaho, she married Dale Stilwell and had two sons.

Nikki’s lifelong passion for writing was embodied in everything she did. She began a career writing for the Idaho Statesman newspaper then went on to Idaho Power, where she became the first female publications editor. During her spare time, Nikki worked as a volunteer editor and publicist for local organizations such as the Idaho Mental Health Association and Junior League of Boise. She was one of the principal founders of the Idaho Historic Preservation Council and also served as the elected president for the Idaho Historical Auxiliary.

Nikki always held an enthusiasm for adventure in her heart. She was a devoted outdoorsman and backcountry traveler who loved to hike, canoe, kayak, and fish in the Idaho wilderness. Her travels took her from the skyscraping mountains of Nepal to the busy streets of London, one of her fondest trips being when she and her sister, Mary, went to Africa and hiked to the top of Mount Kenya.

Nikki is survived by her sons, Mark Stilwell and Scott Stilwell. Her grandchildren include Megan Stilwell and Ashley Stilwell. She had two siblings, Olin Balch and Betty Weston, and two nieces, Kelle (Stuart) Bradshaw and Holly (John) Carnes.

Nikki is preceded in death by her parents and sister Mary Birch (Buzzy Balch).

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