Eugene Elmer Balazs, 94, of Shelburne Falls, passed away on December 8th, 2021.
He was born on March 3rd, 1927, in Norwalk, CT, the last of five children born to Margaret Takacs and Stephen E. Balazs. There were several defining moments in Eugene’s long life; the first was his mother passing away when he was 6 years old. He was raised as much by his siblings, especially his sister, as by his father.
He grew up in the Norwalk area working many different jobs; factory worker, apprenticed machinist, movie theater usher, and the most colorfully recalled job, vacuuming out the ovens at the Pepperidge Farms bakery. Then came the second defining moment of his life, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in northern Italy with the 88th division. The war in Europe was essentially over, so his time there had a threefold purpose; keeping the local peace, deterring Tito’s forces from invading over the Yugoslavian border, and training for the land invasion of Japan.
When he mustered out of the service he resumed various and sundry jobs until three more “moments” came in quick succession. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Adelphi College, studying English with an eye towards teaching, he met his lifelong and best friend, Jack Russell, and he met the love of his life, Jean Wysokinski.
Gene and Jean married on January 14th, 1956 and settled on Long Island, NY. He taught English at Sewanhaka High School, and at various local community colleges each summer. They quickly grew into a family as three children were born, Stephen, Anne, and Katherine.
After years on Long Island, Gene moved his family to Great Barrington, MA, so he could assume the principalship of the newly formed Monument Mountain Regional High School. Later, he served as Assistant Superintendent of the Mohawk Trail Regional district, as well as Principal of Easthampton High School. He somehow found the time to work toward and receive his EdD at Umass in 1980.
At the end of his career, Gene circled back to the military, serving as the Veteran’s Agent for the Shelburne Falls area.
Gene adored his family, delighting in every wedding, graduation, and birth along the way. He enjoyed time spent on or near saltwater, old movies and cinema trivia, listening to Frank Sinatra, and traveling the world with Jeannie and friends. While their travels took them all over the world, they shared special memories while on safari in Africa, at the opera in Vienna, and in Hungary, where his mother was born.
Gene is predeceased by his siblings Stephen, John, Albert, and Helen, as well as his wife of 54 years, Jean (2010), and his son-in-law Robert Baker (2014).
He is survived by his children Stephen E. Balazs, and wife Martha, of Northfield, Anne Balazs, and husband Peter Wood, of Saline, MI, and Katherine Baker of Nantucket.
Grandchildren Noah Balazs, and wife Rebecca, of Cairo, Egypt, Emma Balazs, of Brunswick, Maine, and Margaret, Sophia, and Andrew Wood of Saline, MI.
Great-grandchildren Wilhemina and Laurel Balazs of Cairo, Egypt.
Finally, for a guy who claimed to not have an ounce of small talk in him, and who prefaced every visit with, “we’re not staying long”, he was always the last to leave a party or gathering, enjoying every moment visiting with family and friends…time to go home Dad.
Eugene’s family would like to express their gratitude to the staffs of Guardian Angels and LifePath, the Buckley Nursing Home, and New England Hospice, for their care, compassion, and many kindnesses.
There will be no services.
Please consider a donation to the Arms Library in Shelburne Falls in Gene’s memory.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eugene E. (Gene) Balazs, please visit our floral store.