Alphonse J. "Al" Balzano

Alphonse J. "Al" Balzano, age 85, Pacific Avenue, West Pittston, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013 at 6:29 p.m., surrounded by his beloved wife and children, the loves of his life.

He was born on March 26, 1927, in Old Forge, a son of the late Nicholas and Lucy (Matrone) Balzano, natives of Napoli, Italy. His early life in Old Forge served as the source for his many childhood friends and wonderful memories.

Alphonse began working as a child in Old Forge doing odd jobs, but his initial position as a married man was working for his uncle, Tony Matrone, as his plumbing apprentice. He then opened his own grocery store and later began his own business as a distributor for Vaughn's Bakery and then Maiers Bakery, which he operated for 32 years. Each of these jobs served as a predecessor to his most recent calling as "Mr. B" at Balzano's Italian Kitchen in Bloomsburg for the past 14 years.

He was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, West Pittston, the Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus, the Democratic Party and the West Pittston Little League.

Alphonse served his country in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Attu.

He will always be remembered for his love of life and people and the gratification he received by helping others. Most of all, his legacy will be his unfettered and unconditional love of his family. His favorite pastimes were cooking, gardening, dancing and listening to the music of Frank Sinatra.

Alphonse was preceded in death by his first son, Alphonse, and also by his parents.

Surviving are his beloved wife and soul mate, the former Angeline Cerza, whom he married on July 3, 1948 and together they celebrated 64 years of marriage.; five children, Carmen J. Balzano, M.D. and his wife Grace, Palm Beach, Fla.; Lucy, wife of Andrew M. Hergan, Bloomsburg; Ann Marie, wife of Joseph Palmieri, Exeter; Diane, wife of John Gallagher, Stratford, Conn.; Alphonse J. Balzano Jr., Esq., and his wife Theresa, Madison, Conn.; 13 grandchildren, Dr. Lisa Puglisi, Daniela Fenton, Angela Papcsy, Esq., Joseph Palmieri, Gina Grandizio, Mario Palmieri, Ryan Gallagher, Andy Hergan Jr.; Maria Palmieri, Alyssa Gallagher, Angelina Balzano, Lucia Balzano and Gian Luca Balzano; and three great-grandchildren, Luna McCullough, Solomon Fenton, Dario Puglisi; and a special niece, Maria Baron.

He is also survived by a brother, James Balzano and his wife, Rita, Easton; and two sisters, Jean, wife of George Collier, Mystic, Conn.; and Rose Marie Colando, West Pittston.

The Balzano family would like to thank the wonderful nurses and staff of Sacred Heart Hospice and Dr. Arthur Meyer, nurse Sharon and the staff of Geisinger Wyoming Valley Cancer Center for their caring and support.

A memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Corpus Christi/Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 605 Luzerne Avenue, West Pittston, by Monsignor John J. Sempa. A visitation with the family will be held from 9 a.m. until the time of the Mass at the Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorial contributions be sent to Sacred Heart Hospice, 600 Baltimore Drive, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702; or to Kidsburg, P. O. Box 432, Bloomsburg, PA 17815.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Dean W. Kriner Inc. Funeral Home, 325 Market St., Bloomsburg.

Published in Scranton Times on Jan. 17, 2013