Who/what: Family members remember Donna Ferrari-Balmer for the generosity she showed to everyone around her, always offering an ear for listening and a shoulder to cry on. A Long Island, New York, native, Ferrari-Balmer graduated from University of Scranton and lived in Archbald for more than 25 years. In addition to working for Specialty Records, Ferrari-Balmer volunteered to teach ceramic painting and raised funds for the ALS Association and Hospice of the Sacred Heart.
Beloved among her extended family, Ferrari-Balmer was the widow of Russell, who died in 2017, and also shared her heart with her grandchildren, Camryn, 14, and Austin, 7, as well as her “fur babies,” Mandy, Buster, Tootsie and Dakota. She additionally is survived by two brothers, Gary, Massachusetts, and Robert, Long Island.
In late October, Ferrari-Balmer learned she had brain cancer, which quickly caused her to lose the ability to speak and walk. Just about month after her diagnosis, on Nov. 22, she died in her sleep surrounded by family at age 67. The swift nature of her diagnosis and death left her loved ones unprepared, but her family has taken solace in remembering moments spent with her and passing on those stories to the younger generation.
Why: Donations will help provide closure to Ferrari-Balmer’s loved ones by covering final expenses such as payment to the nursing home that cared for her, cremation and burial fees, and it also will fund a memorial ceremony and headstone for her grave, where they will be able to visit her.
When/where: The public can donate through the GoFundMe page, “Honor Donna L. Ferrari-Balmer,” or by mail in care of her niece, Bobbie-Jo Balmer, at 1 High St., Jessup, PA 18434.
In her own words: “Any support or donations offered during this time will bring comfort to all of Donna’s loved ones. It would help to honor her and bring closure to us as a family.” — Bobbie-Jo Balmer
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest