Richard Havlin Balzer passed away on June 12, 2014, in Springfield, Ore., from a bad heart valve. He was born Aug. 25, 1945 in Los Angeles to Carl and Elsa Balzer.
Balzer is survived by his son Vaughn Balzer; his grandson Calvin Balzer; his brother Rick Balzer and his niece Shannon Balzer Palmer.
Richard, or “Dicky” as he was known as a child, grew up in Laguna Beach with his brother, “Ricky”. Balzer enjoyed the beach and spearfishing in the ocean and in 1960 “Dick” won the national Junior Underwater Spearfishing Championships.
He was first married to Joanne Scott, Vaughn’s mother, on Feb. 19, 1970, in Laguna Beach. After marrying, Balzer took the courageous step of going to college and earning a bachelor of science degree in landscape architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Balzer worked as a landscape architect in Laguna Beach, Redlands and Palm Springs before starting a successful landscape maintenance business in Palm Desert.
Later he married Regina DiPaolo and took on the role of stepfather to Mika and Alexis DiPaolo. While Balzer lived in the desert, he became certified to fly ultralight aircraft.
Balzer worked hard throughout his life to support those he loved and cared for. After selling the landscape business, he took a job with the state Department of Transportation in Fresno.
Balzer retired to Newport, Ore., in 2006. In his retirement, Balzer remained active with hobbies and made a wooden sea kayak in his garage. He also volunteered on the city’s parks and recreation committee and participated in a meeting as recently as May 21.
Balzer was a great and patient father and stepfather; a good gardener, landscape architect and spear fisherman; and had other talents including art and photography. He was very thoughtful and always considerate of others. Richard will be dearly missed by many.
A remembrance in Laguna Beach will be planned for later this summer or early fall and will be announced in this paper. Vaughn Balzer may be contacted at 2805 NW Ashwood Dr., Corvallis, Ore., 97330. In Balzer’s memory, contributions may be sent to the American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org/ or The Laguna Beach Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1628, Laguna Beach, Calif., 92652.