Rudolph (Rudy) Balocki, 93, loving son, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, died Sunday, January 12th, 2020 in Naples, Florida. Rudy was born on December 19th, 1926, in New Britain, CT, son of the late Attilio and Maria (Battalini) Balocki. Rudy was drafted into World War II out of high school and served in a U.S. Army Special Forces Unit in the Pacific Theatre until the war ended in 1945. During part of his service, Rudy had the honor of serving as the personal jeep driver for General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippine Islands and was proud to share many special memories of his experience with MacArthur. After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1946, Rudy returned to New Britain, CT and worked at Stanley Works as a machinist, and later as a dedicated Union Representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers AFL-CIO, until his retirement in 1989. An avid athlete, Rudy played for both semi-professional football and baseball teams and he was a life-long, passionate MLB fan who had seen many of the greats play.
In 1993, Rudy and Janet (DiFazio) Balocki, his late, beloved wife of 37 years, left Newington, and later Hope Valley, RI, to move to Florida where he began his second career as an associate at the Publix grocery store at the Shops of Old Marco. Rudy adored his job and became the unofficial “mayor” of Marco Island because he touched so many with his friendly smile and love of connecting with people. Very reluctantly, he retired from Publix at the age of 89 after 22 years of service. A devoted family man and friend who always did what was asked of him without complaint, Rudy will be greatly missed.
Rudy was also predeceased by his brothers, Vito Balocki and Robert Balocki, and his sister, Eleanor Balocki. Rudy will be lovingly remembered by his daughter, Barbara (Gerard) Downey of River Forest, IL and his three dear grandchildren, Colin Downey, Brendan Downey, and Julia Downey—and many very special nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends may gather for a celebration of Rudy’s life on Saturday, February 15, from 2 to 5 PM at Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home, 577 E. Elkcam Circle, Marco Island. Military honors will take place at 2:30 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to www.woundedwarriorsofcolliercounty.com or www.gulfcoastvf.org.