Shirley Irene Bertanyi Balint
1942 - 2008, Santa Barbara
"Life is but a dream"
September 27, 1942. On that day, the world received a special gift when Shirley Balint arrived from heaven. From that day on, people smiled a little more often and took themselves a little less seriously. When she passed away last month, on her 66th birthday... well, let's just say, we're all going to have to work a bit harder at it now.
Born Shirley Irene Bertanyi in Los Angeles, CA, the second of three daughters, to Theresa and Leslie Bertanyi. Her family moved to Santa Barbara in 1955 where Shirley attended SB Junior High, SB High School, and SB City College. With her easy sense-of-humor and charming good looks, it must have been love at first sight for my dad, Joseph Richard Balint. In 1962, Shirley and Joe were married. Theirs is a love that knew (and knows) no boundaries. Even now that mom is singing with the angels, dad loves her as much as life itself.
In 1966, my parents settled down to raise the family in Ventura. Shirley was a devoted wife and mother, with eclectic and varied interests. Over the years, some of her pastimes included playing the violin, roller skating, reading Agatha Christie mysteries, tent camping, ocean cruising, thrift store shopping, casino gaming, baking, and cake decorating. As kids, our mom never failed to make us the most elaborate, and delicious birthday cakes a kid could ever imagine. And her sumptuous pies were always requested (and devoured) at every family gathering. But most importantly, she loved us, and encouraged us to do what our hearts desired.
After studying to become a court reporter in the early 1980s, Shirley re-entered the work force, and served with distinction until her retirement from the Ventura City Fire Department, where in 1995, she was recognized as Employee of the Year. And like everything she did, she enjoyed her retirement as well--cruising together with dad to many ports around the world.
Shirley's greatest pleasures in life were the simple ones, and she moved through life with grace and acceptance. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, she ALWAYS looked on the bright side. That sincere smile and her positive outlook warmed and encouraged the lives of many. Her deep faith in God and in the teachings of Christian Science led her to the understanding that Life is eternal. She knew in her heart that her earthly experience, while blessed, was not equal to her existence in Spirit. She always said that "life is but a dream". And so, after bravely battling the complications of a prolonged illness, she peacefully and quite consciously accepted that it was time for her to awaken from the dream.
Shirley is survived by her mother Theresa Bertanyi; her sisters Evelyn Bertanyi and Margie Ramage; her beloved husband Joe; her sons John and Joe; and her granddaughters Sierra and Chloe. She is further survived by cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. We will gather in a celebration of her life later this month in Santa Barbara. All who know her are welcome. Please contact John Balint at (805) 687-3043 for details.
Memorial donations may be made in her name to the Second Church of Christ Scientist, 469 North Victoria Avenue, Ventura, California, 93003