ONEONTA – Wayne J. Balnis Jr. better known as “JR”, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 of heart complications.
Wayne was born on Feb. 18, 1961, in Oneonta, to Wayne Balnis and Patricia (Weitzel) Balnis.
He married Carla Palmer on May 23, 1992, in the First United Methodist Church. They were married for 28 years and were constant companions, partners and best friends.
His children survive him, son Joseph Michael Balnis and daughter-in-law, Catie Vincent Balnis, of Delmar; daughter Caryn Rachel Balnis and spouse, Christopher Sloan, of Morris. He is also survived by two sisters and brothers-in-law, Sherry and Brian Pidgeon and Laurie and Stephen Page.
Also, his mother-in-law, Madolyn Palmer; sister-in-law, Sandra and Robb Ross; brother-in-law, Ransom and Renee Palmer; very special friend and co-worker, Brian and Margie Bourgeois, and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Also survived by his GREATEST love, his grandson, Colton Peter Balnis.
He was predeceased by his parents, Wayne Balnis Sr. and Patricia Balnis, and father-in-law Ransom Carver Palmer.
Wayne was a devoted family man whose children and grandson were an important part of his life. Each of them shares special memories of spending time with him. He was a true friend, and believed in people.
Wayne graduated from Oneonta High School in 1979, and worked at Mold-a-Matic for over 30 years, before going to work for Otsego County Highway Department.
Wayne had many hobbies. As a young man, fishing, camping and hunting with his Dad and Grandfather were always first on the list; a sport he soon passed on to his son, daughter and wife. He was an avid bowler with more than eleven 300 games; also “coaching” his family to share in his competitiveness. You notice Wayne did very little without his family together.
Wayne was an active member of the Oneonta Moose Lodge, The Sixth Ward Athletic Club, a past member of the Loyal Order of the Elks, a past president of the local Ducks Unlimited, and a very proud member of the West Oneonta Volunteer Fire Department; providing the BEST Chicken BBQ in town!
For fun, Wayne could be found at local singing competitions following his “Sweetiepie.” There was nothing like watching his heart when she sang. He loved bowling tournaments with his son, (and a little side wager), delivering food for Sloan’s, supporting his favorite Ironman competitor, and watching the Disney sing-a-longs with Colton.
His love of FAMILY often put him in position he didn’t exactly volunteer for, emceeing dinner shows, breaking down and setting up charitable events, cooking chicken … he was the only part of the “Sock-Hop” family who didn’t sing (or at least on stage). He loved karaoke with his little girl.
He was a man of strength, who believed in faithfulness, to his wife, his children, his job and his friends. Wayne was never happier than when his children and his grandson were around him.
Many people dream of traveling during retirement, he spoke of it often; but “dream” was big word to him … and he realized all his DREAMS right here in Oneonta with all of you surrounding him.
It is the wishes of the family that donations are made to Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans, 697 Winney Hill Road, Oneonta, NY 13820, www.superheroesirj.org
There will be no calling hours or services at this time. A celebration of life will be planned when the world becomes a little less “crazy”.
At Wayne’s wishes, he will be cremated with arrangements handled by Oneonta’s only family-owned funeral home, Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono at 51 Dietz Street. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to, www.lhpfuneralhome.com