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James E. Balitsos Sr., 88, Norwalk Resident

NORWALK, Conn. -- James E. Balitsos Sr., of Norwalk, died Monday, June 29, at The Greens in Wilton. He was 88.

Balitsos was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Dec. 14, 1926. He was the son of Efthimious and Eleftheria Balitsos.

Balitsos was raised in Astoria, Queens. He was very active in sports both as a player and manager. He played football and amateur hockey. A highlight of his career was scrimmaging against the New York Rangers at the old Madison Square Garden at age 15. He also was part of a professional diving show at the Aqua Stadium at the old World’s Fair Grounds in Queens.

At age 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Seabees in the Pacific during World War II.

After his service, he began a 35-year career in the advertising industry. He worked on many notable campaigns with many industry leaders. After his retirement, he co-founded Diray TV in Wilton, with his son James.

He was an avid golfer and enjoyed traveling to golf courses throughout the country. He was a member of the Mill River Country Club in Stratford. In addition to various trade organizations, he was a member of the national Greek fraternal association known as AHEPA.

He was most proud of was being on the board of directors of Leake & Watts Children’s Home in New York City. Balitsos and his brother Nick spent some of their early years there upon the death of their father.

One of Balitsos' passions in his retirement was politics. He enjoyed enthusiastic conversations with friends and shared his thoughts through frequent letters to the editors of local publications.

He is survived by his sons, James and his wife, Marie, Stephen, and Jeffrey and his wife, Shannon of Nashville, Tenn.; his daughter, Diane and her husband, Jeff King of Connecticut; eight grandchildren, Brittany, Lindsay, Jaymee, Alex, Katherine, Robert, Mara and Cooper; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were Thursday, July 2, at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave., Norwalk, with burial to follow at Riverside Cemetery in Norwalk.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Leake & Watts Children’s Home, 463 Hawthorne Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10705, would be appreciated.

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