Robert (Bob) Michael Balancia, 94, of Heritage Village in Southbury, CT, died peacefully at home on President’s Day, Monday, February 15, 2021. He was husband to the late Mary Theresa LaSaracina Balancia (1930-1991).
Bob was born in the Bronx, N.Y., on Flag Day, June 14, 1926 to Sarah and John Balancia. Bob enlisted in the Navy while still in high school and became a pilot. He was certified to fly the F6F Hellcat, Stearman, and AT6 Texan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from New York University and his law degree from Brooklyn Law School. Bob worked as a patrolman in the South Bronx division of the New York City Police Department from 1952 until 1972 and later became an attorney, practicing law on the Grand Concourse from 1972 to 2005. He was a former president of the Bronx County Bar Association and he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard. Bob was born with the gift of music and effortlessly played the harmonica and piano without any lessons. When he finally learned to read music, he started to play piano in a brand new way.
Bob met his wife, Mary at a dance in the Bronx. He confessed she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and said he had to break through a large group of admiring young men in order to meet her. Bob captured her attention with his sense of humor, genuine smile, and Navy dress uniform. Bob and Mary married on June 6, 1953 with a reception at Tavern on the Green in New York’s Central Park. They were married for thirty-eight years until Mary passed away in August 1991.
Throughout his life, Bob enjoyed skiing, bicycling, and flying his plane. As a civilian, he flew with a group of lawyer friends, who called themselves “The Breakfast Club”. Each Saturday morning, the group would leave Westchester County Airport to fly to Block Island, Montauk, or Atlantic City to enjoy a leisurely breakfast before the trip back home.
Most of all, Bob enjoyed his time with his four granddaughters, being with daughter Donna and granddaughter Malia at their homes in Florida and California, and spending time with his son, Robert and his wife, Kirsten in Southbury, CT. Bob enjoyed volunteering at the children’s schools on Veterans Day each year, sharing stories about WWII with the classmates of granddaughters Emma, Alexa and Catherine. He loved to share music with his grandchildren and stories of growing up in a cold water flat in the Bronx where he used to watch Yankees games from the rooftop of his apartment building.
He is survived by his daughter Donna, and her daughter Malia Tara, son Robert and his wife Kirsten Kreimeier Balancia, and their three children EmmaRose, Alexa Mary and Catherine Sophie.
The funeral takes place on Saturday, February 20 at Munson Lovetere Funeral Home in Southbury CT with calling hours from 1-3 p.m., and prayer service at 3 p.m. Interment is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 16 at Gates of Heaven in Valhalla NY where Robert Michael will receive military and police salutes.
Donations can be made in Bob’s honor at the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org)
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