Bart Balmer

Barton (Bart) Harry Balmer, of the Balmer family of Big Indian and Shady, passed away on November 2, 2022 at his home in Shady at the age of 75.

Bart was born in Margaretville in May, 1947, and was one of four sons of Ed and Margo Balmer. He is survived by his sister Candy; his brother, Bruce and Bruce’s wife Lisa Markley; sister-in-law Linda; nieces Kelly Balmer and Freyja; and nephew Noah; was predeceased by his parents, and a brother William (Bill;) his younger brother Craig passed away in July of this year.

Bart graduated from Onteora High School in 1965, served in the Army from 1966-1970 as a Voice Interceptor and was given medals for National Defense Service, Good Conduct, Sharpshooter (Rifle), and as a soldier in the Army of Occupation (Berlin).

In middle years, he traveled in Mexico, and in his teens he had bicycled in Banff.

Bart was a life-long car enthusiast, a mechanic and a first-class auto body repairman.

From Brian Hollander:

He especially loved his 1953 Jaguar XK120 Roadster. “In 1953 the cops didn’t bother with Jaguars. They weren’t going to catch them,” he said in a 2002 Woodstock Times piece. “It was a runner, it was the fastest production car in the world when it came out in 1949. It’s a little faster than average at this point. Remember, there were no interstates when it came out. Route 212 was a major highway, so the gearing is designed for cruising at 50 miles per hour, to have enough torque to get up hills. But even now, on the Thruway, it’ll get there.”

Balmer had restored the car himself, and its gleaming condition was a tribute to his professional work. “This car got me into the business. I was going to SUNY New Paltz and to get the money to fix it, I started doing bodywork and restoration for other people. I made the top myself, made it to fit this specific car. I did a lot of jigging to get the lines as good as they are. I spent five days just getting the bumpers lined up right — they are on five different vectors. There was a lot of hand-craftsmanship in the bodywork in those days.”

Bart was also an amateur trombonist, drummer and guitarist; a record collector; a West Coast Swing Dancer; always ready to give his partner a lesson, whether she wanted it or not.

He was an inventor of various autobody and mechanical time-savers.

Bart loved his family, always ready to help his Woodstock friends. He would show up at his musician brother Bruce’s shows, sometimes even the 90 miles to New York City, unexpected and unannounced.

The Balmer family will host a memorial Story Telling for Bart and his recently deceased brother Craig, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, September 24 at the West Hurley Firehouse.

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