Ernie and Mary Balint recently celebrated 71 years of marriage, and have lived in their Bedford Heights home over 50 of them. They are among our longest members at Advent and we are sorry that health issues now prevent them from attending. Ernie has been receiving injections for macular degeneration for 7 years, and Mary has become rather fragile.
Both Ernie and Mary are from the Cleveland area. In the Depression, Ernie's family moved a lot: from the Hungarian area, to Lyndhurst, Orange, Mayfield Heights, and more. In fact, at one point he lived in the house that Joan Groening now owns. He graduated from John Adams H.S. Mary explained that she had attended Catholic schools, and when the nuns first asked her name and she replied "Mary," they suggested she go by Merriam instead. Ernie admitted that he never checked to see which was her real given name.
Many of you know that Ernie participated in invasion of Normandy in World War II, about a month after D-Day. He had been drafted at 18 and trained in a variety of locations in the US before setting out in a 12-day convoy across the Atlantic, and then joining the push through to the Rhine with Patton's 9th Division. Even though he participated in the victorious wrap up in that theater, memories are obviously painful, and we thank him and his brave compatriots for their sacrifice.
After returning home, Ernie courted this attractive sister of his cousin's wife, and trained as a mechanic (eventually becoming service manager at a Firestone center). The Balints have a son and daughter, who now live in Garfield and Aurora, as well as 4 adult grandchildren.
(Your interviewer had fun comparing notes on the prices of first apartments - $26/month for 2 small rooms with a kitchenette!). When Ernie was forced into early retirement when the center closed, Mary joined the workforce at McDonalds - something she found fun, as many other housewives in their neighborhood worked there.
Ernie and Mary said they enjoyed the senior events that Advent used to have - cards, outings, picnics, and craft fairs. In fact Mary organized many of those outings, and Ernie did the posters and other art work needed by the church. He is quite an accomplished painter.
Elaine is one of our newest members to Advent, having transferred recently from Church of the Master. She was born in Newcastle PA but moved to the area at the age of 3, and now lives in Bedford. She says she visited her grandmother every summer back in Newcastle until she graduated from high school. Elaine's brother, sister-in-law, and some nephews live nearby.
Sadly, Elaine's daughter, CJ's mother, died from cystic fibrosis a few years ago. CJ's stepfather has guardianship, but CJ enjoys his grandma-time on weekends.
Elaine ended her 18 years at Swagelok due to her poor heath: arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. (If you are considering a joint replacement, Elaine has lots of experience.) In fact, if you don't know Elaine, look for the smiling lady with a surgical collar on, as she recuperate from recent spinal surgery.
Elaine was attracted to Advent because of its friendliness, the vibrant pastor, the Word on
Wednesday Bible Study, the helpful members, and the fact that it has so many welcoming kids.
CJ is going into 6th grade and loves baseball (he's played in the summer league). He expressed disappointment when summer ended the Sunday School program for the year and he would no longer have Miss Dana for a teacher. Besides baseball, CJ loves being helpful, and is very comfortable around the elderly, like when he visits nursing homes.
For her part, Elaine enjoys crafts, such as making wreaths and centerpieces for showers. She
used to organize the letters and cards to shut-ins and just likes to be helpful.
Everyone should know Michele as she is often seen coordinating the Coffee Hour (she says she learned the ropes from Marge Everhart). She is currently Secretary of Council (having served a number of terms), a Sunday School teacher (loves those kids!), and VBS program volunteer and just about everywhere!
Michele has worked in the English-as-Second-Language field for 29 years, thanks in part to her wonderful summer exchange experience to Brazil (the French-speaking programs were over-subscribed, but she ended up with THE best family!). She loves languages, but started in Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. While working at American U in D.C.,
someone suggested linguistics, and she received her Masters at the U of South Florida, and then a Ph.D. in foreign and second language education from OSU.
Born in an eastern suburb of Pittsburgh, she's also lived/worked in Bethesda/D.C., Tampa, Columbus, New Paltz/SUNY, and Solon and Willoughby for CSU, where she's been in ESL teaching and administration for 15 years. She loves traveling and has done so extensively for work and pleasure. In addition to her exchange visits to Brazil, she lived in Madrid for a year. She also made recruiting trips to: Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, and back to Brazil. Michele's mother passed away in 1999, and her father in 2001. Her parents separated when she was just 7, and step-mother Marilyn, who we have been praying for quite a lot of late, just passed away on July 23. Her brother lives in N.W. Pittsburgh, and her sister Stephanie lives in Chagrin Falls. Her oldest niece, Blythe lives and works in Washington, D.C. and her younger niece, Brooke, is currently home in Chagrin Falls, but has plans to move out to LA in January.
Sometimes it seems like she works 8 days a week, but she likes walking in the Metroparks,
cooking (Latin, Asian, Italian, you name it), container gardening, and watching old movies,
especially musicals like the Wizard of Oz and Singing in the Rain. Her 2019 Christmas tree
theme will be based on the Wizard. (Who else chooses a different theme for their tree each
Michele joined Advent after moving to Solon in 2004. Why? She grew up Lutheran and just
looked online, found Advent very welcoming and with a vibrant adult ed program. She has since moved to Willoughby, but finds it well worth the extra miles to keep her membership here. And we are all glad she did!
There's a place for YOU here, we do better together!