Jean BalcerakHomemakerJean Balcerak, a homemaker who was...

August 11, 1994

Jean Balcerak


Jean Balcerak, a homemaker who was described by relatives as the recorder of family birthdays, died Sunday after a heart attack at the Dundalk home of a daughter where she had lived for about two years.

1993 PHOTO Mrs. Balcerak, who was 82, sent birthday cards to all her relatives. "It wasn't your birthday if you didn't get a card," one said.

She kept up to date, once sending the new husband of a cousin the only card he received on his birthday. Even if the birthday was within a month of a marriage, she would make it her business to know the date and send a card, the family said.

Born in Baltimore, the former Jean Danowski was educated at St. Casimir's School and lived for many years in the Canton area.

She had worked at the Glenn L. Martin Co., now Martin Marietta, during World War II, and earlier at other factories.

Fond of children, she would call and invite a group of great-grandchildren who were regular visitors to come and see her if they had missed stopping for several days.

Her husband of 46 years, Valentine C. Balcerak, died in 1975.

She is survived by three daughters, Barbara Ares and Helen Mayeski, both of Dundalk, and Virginia Brown of Harmans; 14 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 9 a.m. today at Sacred Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 6736 Youngstown Ave., in Baltimore.

Retired Army Col. John Owen Colonna, former director of aviation at Friendship Airport, died June 24 of heart failure at his granddaughter's home in Friendswood, Texas. He was 93.

Colonel Colonna directed the airport for nine years, retiring in 1966 -- six years before it was purchased by the state from the city of Baltimore and expanded into what is now Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

A native of Washington, Colonel Colonna graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1922 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and joined the Army Corps of Engineers.

Colonel Colonna established the Army Map Service in Hawaii during the 1920s and then commanded a company in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Colorado during the Depression.

After serving as an aviation engineer during the design of Edwards Air Force Base in 1940, Colonel Colonna traveled to London, where he helped to plan for the invasion of North Africa in 1942. He became commander of aviation engineers in the Mediterranean theater, constructing airfields for warplanes that operated throughout Europe.

He left the military in 1953, after serving as commander of the 2nd Amphibious Support Brigade in the Korean War.

Colonel Colonna then became assistant director of aviation of Friendship Airport. He was named director in 1957, and left in 1966 after a dispute with the chairman of the airport board.

After his wife Gladys' death in 1973, Colonel Colonna lived in Utah for several years before settling in Texas.

He is survived by a son, Gary Colonna of Lansing, Kan.; a `D daughter, Colleen Wagner of Roanoke, Va.; seven grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

FTC Services were held July 25, and he was buried next to his wife in Arlington National Cemetery.

Graham D. Russell

Naval Academy teacher

Graham D. Russell, a retired teacher and former U.S. Naval Academy faculty member who had been active in sports and politics in Annapolis, died Monday of pneumonia at the Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Mr. Russell, who was 78 and lived in Annapolis, retired about 15 years ago from the North Arundel Vo-Tech Center, where he had taught electricity and engineering courses for about 10 years.

Earlier, he taught nuclear engineering in a 20-year career at the Naval Academy.

Before beginning his scholastic career, he had been a quality control inspector at a Honeywell plant in the Annapolis area and a partner in Jess's Radio and TV.

Born in Annapolis and known as Eggy, he was a graduate of Annapolis High School and attended St. John's College before his graduation from the University of Maryland with an electrical engineering degree. He also did graduate work at the University of Chicago.

He served in the Army during World War II and later in the Maryland National Guard.

Mr. Russell was active as a Democratic Party worker. He never served in elective office, but he had been chief deputy sheriff under his father for a short time about 45 years ago.

He had also been active as a football player in the 1940s and 1950s, playing center for St. John's College and later for two Annapolis teams, Germantown and Columbia. He also played for the Annapolis Lacrosse Club.

For many years, he coached in the Elks youth football program.

Services were to be held at 10 a.m. today at the Hardesty Funeral Home, 12 Ridgely Ave., Annapolis.

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