John ‘Jay’ Balbierz Jr.
MARQUETTE, MI – John “Jay” Balbierz, Jr., age 92, of Marquette, entered eternal life Monday, February 10, 2020, at UP Health System – Marquette, in the loving, comforting care of his family.
Born October 14, 1927, in Marquette, a son of John and Irene (Webb) Balbierz, Sr., Jay was raised in Marquette, attended the local schools, and remained a lifelong resident who lived his entire life on Washington Street. He was a proud veteran of World War II, having served in the Navy. In 1959, Jay married the love of his life, the former Barbara A. “Barbs” Gustafson, whom he adored and often referred to as his “treasure”. The couple lived on West Washington Street and their home was always seasonally decorated and the door always open to family and friends. Jay possessed a strong work ethic and in his 35 years of employment with the UP Power Plant, was never late and never took a sick day. He retired in 1990 as a shift manager. In his leisure moments, Jay loved to ride his bike and still took 20 mile bike rides into his 80’s. He and Barbs loved family events, holiday dinners, and get-togethers which made for numerous happy memories. He loved his children and grandkids, and always made a point to attend and support his grandkids events. He enjoyed classic country music, was an avid Minnesota Vikings fan, and loved dogs. Jay was also the familiar sight along West Washington Street, relaxing in a chair in his front yard, watching and waving to passersby. He was a member of St. Peter Cathedral, American Legion Post 349, Little Lake, and served as a union steward.
Jay is survived by his children, John Balbierz, Sherry White, and Stephen (Doreen) Balbierz all of Marquette; his grandchildren, Katie (Matt) Lucas of Marquette, Angie (Cliff) Broderick of North Carolina, Steven (Ali) Balbierz of Gwinn, and Nick (Cassie) Balbierz of Sault Ste. Marie; four great-grandchildren; his sister, Joyce Zorza of Marquette; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 59 years, Barbara; his son-in-law, Bob White; and sisters, Lorraine Nardi and Dorothy Bussone.
The family will receive relatives and friends in the Bishop’s Room located at St. Peter Cathedral on Monday, February 17, beginning at 10:00 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the cathedral at 11:00 am with Rev. Jernej Sustar as celebrant. A reception will follow in Cathedral Hall. Interment will be made in the Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to American Legion Post 349, P.O. Box 335, Little Lake, MI 49833.
Fassbender Swanson Hansen Funeral and Cremation Services is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at fassbenderswansonhansen.com