Dr. R. Jeffrey Balla, 59, of Yorktown, Virginia, passed away unexpectedly at his farm in Fairmount Twp.
Born and raised in Glen Lyon, he was the son of the late Robert G. and Helen M. Zimolzak Balla. In his youth, Jeff enjoyed Boy Scouting attaining Eagle Scout. He enjoyed an expedition to Philmont, N.M., which was a special scouting experience for him. He was also an organist for St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Alden.
Jeff was a graduate of Nanticoke High School, received a bachelor of science degree from Muhlenburg College and earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from Penn State University in 1985. After obtaining his degree, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, W.Va., where he studied the speed of chemical reactions. Jeff joined the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. in 1988, working as a staff scientist in the Instrument Research Division. His career at NASA Langley included developing laser-based measurements that were used in NASA and Department of Defense wind tunnels to obtain information about the flow over various models over a large range of speeds from low speeds up to hypersonic speeds. Jeff was the author of over 70 journal articles, conference papers, and invited lectures over his career and was the 3rd place winner of Langley's HJE Reid Award for writing one of the best research papers at the center in 2015. He was an adjunct professor of physics at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va. for a number of years where he mentored PhD students. Jeff was a very well-respected researcher at NASA Langley who interacted with numerous colleagues and contributed in many ways toward advancing aeronautics for the nation. He will be greatly missed by his coworkers and friends at NASA.
Recreationally, Jeff loved working on his farm property in Fairmount Twp., planting many trees, building a pond and maintaining the land. He enjoyed playing pinochle with his family, cousins and friends. He was a member of St. John's Slovak Lutheran Church, Nanticoke and Nanticoke Lodge #332, Free and Accepted Masons.
He was preceded in death by his father in August 1997 and his mother in July 2015.
Jeff is survived by his sister, Jane Walker and husband, David, of Perkasie; nieces and nephews, Abby, David, Hannah and Nathanael Walker as well as numerous aunts and uncles and cousins.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. in St. John's Slovak Lutheran Church, 604 S. Hanover St., Nanticoke with the Rev. Jane O'Borski, officiating.
Interment will follow in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Hanover Twp.
Relatives and friends may pay their respects Saturday from 9 a.m. until the time of the service in the church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Boy Scouts of America or the Mill Memorial Library, 495 E. Main St., Nanticoke, PA 18634.
Arrangements are in the care of Davis-Dinelli Funeral Home, 170 E. Broad St., Nanticoke.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store
Published by Citizens Voice on Jun. 28, 2017.