1947 - 2016
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BALESTRA--Dominic Joseph, of Pelham Manor passed away at Calvary Hospital on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. He was 69 years old. Born in Philadelphia, PA to Louis and Rose Balestra he was one of four children. He graduated from St. Francis University in Loretto, PA and went on to study mathematics at the University of Maryland and then to St. Louis University, Missouri from which he earned his Doctorate in Philosophy. While teaching and studying towards his degree, Dominic married Mary (Mamie) Luckett in 1974. The couple moved to Westchester County, NY in 1975 and raised their three children in Pelham. Dominic was appointed to the faculty at Fordham University in the Bronx where he enjoyed a long and successful career as a professor of Philosophy. Dom also served the University as Dean of Faculty in the School of Arts and Science. Throughout his long battle with cancer, Dominic never retired and continued teaching and mentoring students. A peaceful and spiritual man, Dominic was a faithful member of St. Catharine's Church in Pelham. He also served as President of The American Catholic Philosophical Association, and was a member of The American Philosophical Association and The Metaphysical Society. He loved to read and travel. He was an educator at heart; he loved teaching and was devoted to the Fordham community. He loved his Fordham family but above all, he loved his wife, children, grandchildren, and his many friends. Dominic is survived by his wife of 42 years, Mamie and his children: Elisa Balestra (Eric Zeszotarski), Michael (Danielle) and Annie (Anthony) Ferrante. He will be lovingly remembered by his grandchildren Alice and Samuela Balestra and Lucas and Livia Ferrante. He remains in the hearts of his mother, Rose, his twin brother Louis, and his two sisters Elaine Milacci and Anita Cellucci. A celebration of Dominic's life will take place at Pelham Funeral Home, 64 Lincoln Avenue, Pelham, NY on Friday, November 11 from 4:00 to 8:00pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00am on Saturday, November 12th at St. Catharine's Church, 25 Second Avenue, Pelham, NY. Interment will follow the Mass at Holy Sepchuler Cemetery, New Rochelle, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Dominic's name to Calvary Hospital, Bronx, NY or Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers at MSKCC. For more information please visit

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Published in New York Times on Nov. 10, 2016.
Celebration of Life
04:00 - 08:00 PM
Mass of Christian Burial
10:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
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20 entries
November 5, 2019
I still feel like Dom is. He's as present to me now as he was decades ago. Increasingly I realize he was, with various looks, trying to tell me I was full of it on certain scores. And increasingly I realize he was right. It's uncomfortable but I'm grateful for it. I think he cared more about the truth than about being right, and I'd like to be the same way. I can't shake the guy. But I'm glad to be in some sense together with him for good. Thanks to Dom and his family.
Mike Sharkey
July 21, 2017
Dominic and I were department chairs at the same time in the last 1980s and early 1990s. We shared a lot, debated a lot, and did our best for Fordham and for our respective departments. I just learned of his passing and will miss knowing that his infectious spirit is no longer either actively learning or in the classroom and benefiting students.
Kurt Geisinger
January 4, 2017
Mamie, So sorry to learn of the passing of Mr. Balestra. I will remember his kind and gentle way and that great smile of his. Prayers to you and all your children. May the strength of our Savior guide you to acceptance and peace.
Bette Chianese
November 20, 2016
Dr. B was my first philosophy professor (and faculty advisor) at Fordham and a huge reason why I've loved the subject. He was fun, engaging, challenging, and ridiculously smart. He cared deeply about everyone of his students, and personified the principles of cura personalis and magis, constantly pushing each of us to do the same. One of my greatest regrets will always be that we didn't stay in touch after I graduated. I will never forget his smile when he was bringing philosophy to life, or telling one of his jokes. He and his family will forever be in my prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Brendan O'Morchoe
November 17, 2016
Dom would call me to account for saying something so simple, but it seems to me that he is with me still. And that I am with him. We were in some communion as teacher and student, and that doesn't seem to me to be broken. I don't mean to minimize his death or to imply that he and I were specially close. But he was so good to me and we were so much of one mind and heart at times during conversation that his passing makes me think space and time have no final say. God bless his equally wonderful wife.
Mike Sharkey
November 16, 2016
Mamie, we were so saddened to hear of Dominic's passing. We have such fond memories of you both living in Chester Park. Jeff enjoyed being co-president of Chester Park with Dominic, so many year's ago. Our memories of democratic fundraisers and neighborhood parties. Please accept our prayers and condolences to you, Elisa, Michael, Annie, your grandchildren and all you family members.
Gladys/Jeff O'Rourke
November 14, 2016
I just learned the sad news of Dom's death. I was privileged to study with him as a graduate student at Fordham, and he oversaw my doctoral thesis. In the years afterwards, we had many conversations which I will remember and treasure. Dom was a warm and caring teacher, a warm and caring person. My deepest sympathies of out to Mamie and all of the Balestra family.
Ronnie Klein
November 14, 2016
I was on the faculty senate with Dom at Fordham. I admired him and always paid special attention when he spoke in our meetings.
Bob Hurley
November 13, 2016
Dom was my lifelong friend, my best friend, and I will miss him always. He was for me and Liz and our children, Sarah and Annie, a shining example of human goodness. He will live always in our memories and warm our hearts with his happy face. With much love and our deepest sympathies to Mame and the entire Balestra family.
Alex Eodice
November 12, 2016
A wonderful man and presence in our world....He blessed many lives. Our deepest sympathy to you, Mamie and to your whole family.
Prayers and love,
Claudia Addison
Jackson, Ms
November 11, 2016
So sorry to hear that my first grade friend, Donny is gone. My best to his family and friends.
robert carsia
November 11, 2016
Dom was a wonderful teacher and scholar but above all a good man. Brian and Jean
November 11, 2016
I am deeply saddened by the news of Dominic's death. I knew him pretty well at Fordham, because he was always a friendly, open person whenever I would run into him on campus or see him at lunch in the faculty dining room. When he became Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I got to work with him much more closely as a Department Chair and always found him a source of wise counsel and warm encouragement and support; he struck me as an educator who was devoted to the university where he had made his career, the students he taught, and the faculty he led. After cancer forced him to resign from his deanship, he faced his illness with dignity and good cheer, a model for anyone facing the unfairness that life often presents. I recall my last encounter with him, several years after I had retired from Fordham: I asked him then how he was doing, and he answered positively in his familiar upbeat spirit. He was a good man, and his death is a great loss.
Harry Evans
November 11, 2016
May your beloved R.I.P and may God comfort and console aching hearts at this difficult time.
November 10, 2016
Our deepest sympathy to Dom's entire family.
John and Jean Guiseppe
November 10, 2016
This thought is for his family in this time of pain. May our god give you strengh and cpomfort mathew 5:4
November 10, 2016
When I was a teenager in the 1980's I used to occasionally babysit for the Balestras, when Dom and Mamie wanted a night out. I babysat for a lot of families around Pelham back then, but they were among my favorites. I remember Dom and Mamie being such a friendly and kind couple, and their kids were totally adorable and sweet. I'll always have fond memories of Dom. He was a very nice man, and I'm sorry to hear about his passing. My condolences.
Norah Lally (nee Pierson)
November 10, 2016
Please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of such a wonderful man. I did not know Dom very well but whenever our paths crossed I found him to be very sweet, upbeat and warm. He always managed to take the focus off of himself and focus on somthing else, he was gracious in that he would do anything to make you feel comfortable. I am sorry for his family for losing a devoted husband, father and grandfather. I know that he will be deeply missed by all.
Emiliaq Quartararo
Family Friend
November 10, 2016
I met Dominic as a new faculty member at Fordham just six years ago. Had the fortune of meeting him in a monthly basis at the New Faculty Seminar. His love of family and Fordham were evident. I will miss Dominic.
Patricio Meneses
November 9, 2016
Dom was a loving, funny, thoughtful friend who can never be replaced and will be missed always. He was our kids "second Father", and they are better people for knowing and loving him. He was a devoted husband and Father, and was devoted to Fordham. I love you and miss you already.
Elizabeth Eodice
Family Friend
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