Napa resident Branko Balija passed away at his home Dec. 20, 2014, after a lengthy illness. A native of Zagreb, Yugoslavia, born April 28, 1932, he fled the oppression of the Tito regime as a young man, settling in Napa in 1960. He was a skilled machinist and worked at Kaiser Steel for several years until their closing. In retirement he worked part time for A&T Golf Carts as well as serving as a friend and mentor assisting others with custom machining and challenging auto repairs. In past years he had enjoyed bowling.
Survivors include his wife, Marija; sons Daniel (Lainie) of Napa and Dean of Napa; grandchildren Rachael (Matthew) Knight of Georgia, Steffan (Annie) Balija of Idaho, Kristina and Haley of Napa. He is also survived by a great-grandson, Luca Knight, also special thanks to granddaughters Alecia and Mya Alvarez of Napa for helping care for him. He was predeceased by his parents, Skiber and Stefanija Balija, and a granddaughter, Chloe. Donations in his memory to the American Cancer Society have been suggested.
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