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Carl A. Balestracci, Jr., age 78, passed away peacefully on June 3, after a brief illness. He was the beloved husband of Linda Lascola Balestracci for more than 30 years. Carl was born in New Haven on Aug. 6, 1940 to the late Carlo Balestracci and Edith Perna Balestracci.
Carl grew up in Guilford, serving as president for four years to the Guilford High School (GHS) Class of 1958. He attended the University of Connecticut for one year, where he was class president and also Outstanding Air Force ROTC Cadet. In 1959, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1964, with the rank airman first class.
Carl earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and sixth year certificate in administration from Southern Connecticut State University. He taught for nine years in New Haven, and in 1976 began teaching social studies at Adams Middle School. Carl was appointed a house master at Guilford HIgh School in 1982 and then served as co-principal from 1987 to 1991, when he became principal of Baldwin Middle School. He became principal of Adams Middle School in 1994 and retired in 1999.
Two years after retiring from his career in education, Carl ran for first selectman of Guilford and served three terms in that capacity. He continued his dedication to Guilford by serving on the Board of Selectmen for many years after his last term in office ended in 2009.
Carl’s other civic activities included serving on the Guilford Police Commission for 19 years, the Democratic Town Committee, and the Guilford Keeping Society. At one time, he was president of the Guilford PTA Council, a member of the Advisory Board of SARAH, and a member of the Boards of Directors of both Guilford ABC and Guilford Family Counseling.
One of Carl’s proudest achievements was his role in starting the GHS Fencing Program in 1976, serving as head coach from 1976 to 1987, and as president of the Connecticut Division of the U.S. Fencing Association from 1979-1987.
Carl also worked on the campaign staffs of Senator Chris Dodd, Governor Ella Grasso, Congressman Emilio Daddario, and Senator Abe Ribicoff.
Carl was a drummer and past commodore in the Ancient Mariners Fife and Drum Corps, a woodcarver, and a wine maker. In 2016, he fulfilled his dream of publishing his book: John Beattie and His Quarrymen: Building America Stone by Stone.
“Mr. B.” was a “Man for the Ages” and will be missed by the people whom he taught, mentored, befriended, and loved. And, yet, while he was so committed to civic endeavors and the people of Guilford, Carl always put his family first.
In addition to his wife Linda, Carl is survived by his son Christopher (Katie) of Guilford, and their children Michael and Brendan; his son Andrew (Linda) of Boonville, California; his stepson David Colle (Jennifer) of Naples, New York, and their children Jericho and Sienna; and his stepson Kevin Colle of Guilford. Other survivors include Carl’s cousin Judy Secki of Guilford, as well as many loving sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Calling hours will be Friday, June 7, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Guilford Funeral Home, 115 Church Street, Guilford. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, June 8, at 10 a.m. at St. George Catholic Church, Whitfield Street, Guilford. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: The Carl A. Balestracci, Jr., Humanitarian Fund at the Guilford Foundation, P.O. Box 35, 44 Boston St., Guilford, CT 06437. To share a memory or leave condolences, visit www.guilfordfuneralhome.com.
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