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AUSTIN — John Balli, 71, of Austin, passed away on Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. He was born in Mission to the late Gilbert and Pila Balli.

Mr. Balli coached children, including his own, when he co-founded the Town & Country Optimist Club and later his grandsons in baseball with the Manchaca Optimist Youth Sports Center. He taught golf to children through the junior golf programs of the South Texas PGA and worked with the youth golf camps at The Onion Creek Golf Club. He also volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House weekly for several years.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Tina; daughter, Sheryl Reeh of San Antonio; son, Brian Balli of Austin; brother, Dr. Larry Balli of Edinburg; and four grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be held Friday, Jan. 20, at 11 a.m. at Santa Cruz Catholic Church in Buda. Burial will follow at Onion Creek Memorial Park in Manchaca.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests to make a donation for those youth who would like to play baseball but can't afford the cost. Donations may be made to the John Balli Memorial Scholarship Fund, Manchaca Optimist Youth Sports Complex, P.O. Box 444, Manchaca, TX 78652.

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