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Stanislaw Bala

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Stanislaw Bala Obituary
Stanislaw Bala Age 90, of San Rafael, passed away on September 9, 2013. He was born in Staro Wiskitki, Poland, on November 10, 1922. Bala was a good student and an avid swimmer. He swam competitively for many years at a local club and qualified in 1939 as a swimmer for Poland's Olympic Team. The team hired an American coach from Princeton, who noticed that Bala was an accomplished platform diver, and quickly moved him from swimming to diving. He attended the Olympic camp in Katowice, Poland, in preparation for the 1940 Olympics, which were halted by the outbreak of World War II. Bala joined the Underground Home Army, whose aim was to create centers of national resistance. During this time, Bala finished a mechanical engineering degree at Wawelberg. In 1944, at the age of 21, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising, acting simultaneously as a photojournalist. His work is now displayed at the Warsaw Uprising Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Stanislaw Bala later graduated from Polish University College in London with a Masters in structural and civil engineering. The focus of his studies was hydroelectric dam design and he was directly involved in the design of the Furnas Dam in Brazil. He was preparing to depart for Australia, where he had secured a job, when a separate offer from the United States came through. Having read about the United States, and California in particular, he jumped at the opportunity. His first job was in Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1950, where he met his future business partner, Jesper Strandgaard. When he had saved enough money for a new Chevy, he drove it across the United States, towards California and the Golden Gate Bridge. He arrived in the Bay Area in 1953, and first worked for Bechtel Engineering, and then later for the International Engineering Company as a project engineer. In 1959, he opened his own business, Bala and Strandgaard, consulting engineers. Originally in Corte Madera, the office later operated on Miller Avenue in Mill Valley for many years. In addition to private work, the firm provided municipal engineering for the towns of Mill Valley and Tiburon, and various public utility districts until 1989, when the partnership was dissolved. Additionally, Bala served as city engineer for Mill Valley from 1960 to 1974, and town engineer for Tiburon from 1971 to 1994. Aside from his professional work, he had many interests and hobbies. He enjoyed painting, wood-carving, and fishing. He loved the outdoors and traveling. Bala is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jadwiga, his daughters, Hasia, Monika, and Eva; his sons, Christopher and Andrew; his sons-in-law, Adam and Mario; and grandchildren, Nicole, Andrew, Matthew, Christopher, Bianca, Alexander, Sebastian, Adriana, and Tanner. He is also survived by his three great-grandchildren, Kasey, Alyssa, and Tyler. His sister, Halina Rueger, 92, lives in Berkeley. Bala died peacefully at home, with his family at his side. In memory he will be loved and cherished as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. A celebration of his life will take place on Saturday, October 5th, from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at Jason's Restaurant in Greenbrae. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Heartland Hospice of Terra Linda in his name.
Published in Marin Independent Journal from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, 2013
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