Gerald Francis Paul Baluha died October 5, 2019, at Pardee Memorial Hospital in Hendersonville, North Carolina, after a short illness. He was 79. Jerry leaves behind his beloved wife of 56 years, Kathleen Flanagan Baluha; three sons, Mark Regan (Renee), Kevin Patrick, and David Sean; two grandchildren, Katherine Baluha Dedafoe (Greg) and Mario Baluha; and his devoted partner-in-crime, Kira, his dog of 13 years.
Jerry entered this world February 5, 1940, the second of four children born to Andrew and Helen Baluha. Jerry was a third-generation American, his grandparents immigrating from Slovakia at the turn of the century. The Baluhas lived in Gallitzin, a small coal-mining town in central Pennsylvania, before moving to New Jersey in the early 1950s. Both his grandfathers and his father worked as coal miners, but Jerry was the first in his family to receive a college degree, attending the Missouri School of Mines and graduating with two degrees in Metallurgical and Nuclear Engineering. While attending college, Jerry took a summer job working as a farmhand in northeastern Colorado, where he met his wife Kathy, a native of Holyoke. Upon graduation, Jerry moved to Colorado and married Kathy in 1963. While in Colorado, Jerry and Kathy lived in Evergreen, having three sons, Mark, Kevin, and David. Both Jerry and Kathy were always confounded how two parents, both naturally righthanded, could have three sons, all lefthanded!
Jerry worked as an engineer at Coors Porcelain (now CoorsTek) in Golden, Colorado. At Coors Porcelain, Jerry assisted in the development of the Pluto Missile Program until the Test Ban Treaty, and later helped develop ceramic tire studs. In 1970, Jerry accepted a job with Basic Ceramics in Hendersonville. After leaving Basic Ceramics, Jerry established his own industrial ceramics companies, including Amcermet (now Nucermet on Roper Road) and Incerco. Incerco specialized in the production of tooling for the paper industry and conducted business across North America, Europe, and South America. In the 1980s, Incerco transitioned away from industrial ceramics into plastic, changing its name to Papermachine Service Industries. At this time, Jerry partnered with his oldest son Mark, who continues to operate the company, now based in Saginaw, Michigan. Jerry and Mark developed tooling products for the paper industry and hold multiple U.S. patents.
Jerry’s greatest passions included camping and fishing with his sons and grandchildren. Every time he hooked a fish, he would exclaim “That’s a big fish or something!” In retirement, Jerry enjoyed gardening and home improvements. He focused his engineering skills on developing the perfect, squirrel-proof bird feeder, with little success. He was rarely idle. If he was, he was thinking of something to do next.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Mr. Baluha will be celebrated at 12:00 Noon Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 208 7th Avenue West, Hendersonville, NC 28791 with Fr. Britt Taylor as celebrant. At the family’s request, committal services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, in honor of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, the family asks you to donate to the American Heart Association, 1238 South Tryon Street, #1588, Charlotte, NC 28202, or to your favorite charity.
Jerry will be forever missed by his loving and devoted family and many close friends. May God Grant Him Eternal Rest.
Arrangements are in the care of Shuler Funeral Home of Hendersonville, NC.
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