GGI Glass’ Al Balik passes away

Glass Magazine
September 4, 2012
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : BUSINESS
Albert Balik and his wife Muriel

Albert Balik, retired owner and vice chairman of the board for GGI Glass, Secaucus, N.J., passed away, August 28, 2012. 

Al and his older brother Arthur joined the family company in 1946 after serving in World War II.  They were the third generation to enter the business, then operating out of the lower east side of Manhattan. At the time, GGI Glass was a business of case goods and loose lites.

“Back then we didn’t do anything but cut the glass.  We were importers and distributors, and it was a very tough, very competitive business,” Arthur remembers. 

As partners, the “Balik boys” complemented each other in ways that fostered the company’s growth beyond its New York roots to national distribution of its patterned and picture frame glass.

“While we both did everything together—buying and selling—he was much more interested in production than I was,” Arthur says.   “He was instrumental in establishing our Jeannette, Pa., sheet-glass manufacturing operation.”

Fifty years later, the brothers turned the company over to their sons, Richard and David, who, like their fathers before them, expanded GGI’s glass distribution network across North America and also re-engineered the company into its newest iteration as a specialty glass fabricator.

Al’s legacy reaches well beyond the glass balance sheet for all his children and grandchildren.   Each of them shared eloquent remembrances about the man they fondly called “Big Al” and “Big Pa.” 

“His unstoppable optimism, his unwavering belief in his ideas, and his ability to genuinely connect with people at all levels and backgrounds set him apart,” says his son, Richard.

Funeral services were held August 30, 2012, in New Rochelle, N.Y.  Al is survived by his wife of 64 years, Muriel; siblings Arthur Balik and Hilda Kane; children Barbara and Driss Sahli, Deborah and Jeff Zane, Nancy Balik FitzGerald, and Richard and Karen Balik; as well as grandchildren Younes, Yasmine, Gabrielle, Alexander, Jana, Jacqueline Rose, Sarah and Hannah.