He called me “Mr. Mike,” with warmth, affection, and appreciation in what we do as a civic association. Sometimes there was a twinkle in his eye, and sometimes he expressed frustration at how slowly our city government grinds its wheels.
This morning my wife, Eileen, received a phone call that saddened us greatly. It was from long time local freelance photographer, Mike O’Kane, about the passing of his friend, Bob Balzarini, whereupon I mass emailed the news to our Bayside Hills Civic Association Board of Directors.
Later in the afternoon, further information was emailed to me from another man who has known Bob for decades, Jerry Iannece, my predecessor as BHCA president, former Community Board 11 Chair, and current criminal court justice. The following is taken from the Fredricks Funeral Home website:
Robert F. Balzarini, age 78, of Bayside, New York passed away on Sunday April 22, 2018. Robert was born March 18, 1940. He is survived by his loving wife, Helene, daughter, Rachel and siblings Steven and Elaine.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.frederick-fh.com for the Balzarini family.
The Balzarini family requests that if you would like to order flowers please do so with Garden World Florist in Flushing or a donation can be made to either St. Jude Children's Hospital or Doctors without Borders in memory of Robert.
I cannot think of anybody who had more passion for this community or this country for that matter. I can recall how he corrected me for having the American flag on the wrong side of the room during a BHCA general meeting.
For many years Bob was in our audience at Bayside Hills Civic Association general meetings with poignant questions for our guest speakers, frequently giving them a good run for their money in his very special way. Perhaps out of sheer respect, whenever he had the floor, I generally gave Bob all the time he needed to get his point across.
In addition to being a regular at our BHCA general meetings, Bob was an absolute warrior when it came to fighting graffiti. Copied and pasted here is one of his previous emails to me, so typical of him:
Purchased 3 cans "POST OFFICE BLUE " PAINT on line....Used and tested......all good....Color is state wide....official painr.and it's in a spray can.....
Forget Police Department...
So Rest In Peace Mr. Balzarini and thank you for everything. A civic association such as ours exists because people such as you are out there understanding and caring about what it means to be a community, and in the broader sense a country!
———-Michael Feiner, President