William J.'s Story

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William J. Balzarini, 74, of Rockport, Mass., passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House with his loving family by his side. Born to the late John and Mabel Balzarini, he was a lifelong resident of Rockport, growing up in Pigeon Cove and was know affectionately to many as "Billy" or "Bill."
His early years found him on his grandfather's dairy farm, Sunset Farm. Being from the "cove," his summer days included swimming at the quarries, but also hard work. His first job was working on a honey wagon with his uncle. At a young age, he gravitated to the hospitality industry. He worked at the Peg Leg restaurant through high school and college alongside his mother, Mabel, and sister, Faith. He graduated from Rockport High School where he enjoyed playing on the basketball team and serving on the student council and as class president his senior year. After attending college at Suffolk University, he traveled and worked his way through Europe.
Upon his return, he and his parents opened the Old Farm Inn, a bed and breakfast and restaurant serving traditional New England fare. The business was a family effort and ran successfully for 35 years. He married the love of his life, Susan, on the front lawn of the Inn in 1969 and they raised their daughter in the salt box house they built next door.
Always one to be involved in the community, he enjoyed belonging to various boards and organizations. He was a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Rockport where he served as president and was a recipient of the Paul Harris Award. He served as treasurer of the Rockport Alumni Association, was a vestry member at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, and an incorporator of the Granite Savings Bank. In recent years, one can see his improvements to the Rockport Art Association where he headed up multiple historic preservation projects to include the new handicap pathway.
Upon retiring from the hospitality business, he kept busy with a new career in real estate as well as working for the Town of Rockport managing the Community House.
Family, friends, community and history were important to Bill. He always made himself available to help a friend. He touched the lives of everyone he knew. His smile and friendly demeanor will be greatly missed by many.
Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Susan Balzarini; and nephew, Kirk Keating.
Bill is survived by his daughter, Amanda Perera, son-in-law, Janaka Perera, and grandsons, Sinjin and Sawyer, all of Lafayette, Colo.; one sister, Faith Ronan of Rockport, Mass.; his nieces, nephew, and many cousins.
A celebration of Bill's life will be held this summer. For an online guest book and updated information on the summer celebration, please visit www.casperfuneralservices.com.
Memorial donations in memory of Bill can be made to the Cape Ann Animal Aid, 4 Paws Lane, Gloucester, MA 01930 or Care Dimensions/Kaplan House, 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.
Published on May 12, 2017
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