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July 21, 2018

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July 21, 2018

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 Memories & Condolences
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January 3, 2018
I was sorry to learn so belatedly about Bob's passing, and send my deepest condolences to his wife and his children. Long, long ago, I worked under Bob at Sterling Library, enjoying, but also respecting his jousting with "administration" (but always in an effort to make things better for staff.) I kept in touch with his successes at Choice and in editing that new edition of the "Guide," the "gospel text" at the center of so many reference librarian lives. And I miss those marvelous holiday letters that came without fail for so long. I speak, I think, for many colleagues and friends when I say that Bob was unique, and that we miss his presence among us.
August 25, 2017
Bob was my friend Anne's father.
He was also my mom's supervisor at Yale.*
Beryl didn't say this of many - but she always said Bob was one of the good guys.
And when Jan Gergan Keshian and my mom both agree - you know it is true.
He was a man of honor and the employees at Sterling I knew spoke highly of him. And his humor could lighten the day.

In library school and as a new librarian, I used Balay's all the time (as that was how we referred to Balay's Guide to Reference Books OCLC: 33668314). I thought with the spelling, it had to be the same Robert Balay, but I was (incorrectly) told I was mistaken.

I am grateful I got to thank Bob for all he did for my mom, Jan and other support staff. That meant the world to Beryl and to me.
I wish I had learned that I was right about Balay's in time to thank him for helping me get my start as a librarian with his publication. I've always wanted my own copy of that book - and now I will track one down and it will mean even more to me.

But what I will remember most of all - the joy evident in the pictures Chris and Anne have shared. And the quiet pride when Anne presented her book at Sterling. His love of his family shines through.

Oh - and that look in his eye.

At times I was wary of such a knowing look (esp. as a kid checking out my great grandfather's woodwork in main reading room and pretending Sterling was a way into my favorite books).

That spark of life in his eye that seemed to reflect both humor and deep knowledge.
It usually accompanied wry humor.

Cheryl, Chris, Anne, Jean and all your family - may that spark be in your eyes and your children's too.


Jenny Normand Groome


*Which might have been a harder relationship than being friends with daughter of your mom's boss.
August 18, 2017
Bob was a great friend and colleague at Choice: helpful, very funny, and brilliant. I miss him. RIP.
August 17, 2017
My sympathy goes out to Bob's family. I worked with Bob at Choice Magazine/American Library Association for several years. He was a caring husband; proud of his children; and a gentleman. He had a sense of humor and caring nature; a great laugh and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. May you rest in peace Bob.