Jennifer Balnis, 44

Jan. 23, 1973 - Sept. 16, 2017
Jennifer Balnis, Jan. 23, 1973 - Sept. 16, 2017

Jennifer Anne Balnis, a former East Hampton resident who had moved to Mount Pleasant, S.C., recently, died at home on Sept. 16. The cause was brain cancer, her family said.

She was born on Jan. 23, 1973, in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. She grew up in Massapequa Park, one of two children of John Hajko and the former Nora Adams. 

She graduated from Massapequa High School in 1991 and received an associate’s degree from Nassau Community College, while also attending Stony Brook University and working as a waitress at the Boathouse in Montauk, among other spots, in the summers. She later worked in catering for Nick and Toni’s and at the Ross School cafeteria in East Hampton.

She married Richard J. Balnis II on June 17, 1995, and the couple built a house in East Hampton. 

Ms. Balnis was a kind and loving person, her mother said. “She lived her life with grace and dignity and always chose to see the good in people she met and situations she encountered,” she said. 

She loved being by the beach and visiting the ocean year round. A plaque in her honor will be installed by the Ladies Village Improvement Society at a tree under its care near Main Beach in East Hampton, her mother said.

Mr. and Ms. Balnis moved with their children, Avery Grace Balnis, Abigail Mae Balnis, and Richard Balnis III, to Mount Pleasant, which is near Charles­ton, about three years ago to escape the harsh winters in East Hampton. Once settled in South Carolina, Ms. Balnis continued her work in food ser­vice, but really concentrated on raising her children, her mother said.

She was diagnosed with cancer only a few months before her death, her mother said.

In addition to her mother, who lives in East Hampton, Mr. Balnis, and their children, she is survived by her father, who lives in Delray Beach, Fla., and a brother, Peter John Hajko of Farmingdale.

A memorial celebration in East Hampton for Ms. Balnis is planned for June.