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.
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