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Gary Balas – 1960-2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Local Arrangements Chair (2006 Minneapolis), Finance Chair (2012 Montréal), and Program Chair (2014 Portland).  He is remembered fondly by his colleagues for his service and persona.

“We are profoundly sad to inform the AACC community that Gary Balas, a dedicated AACC volunteer and the Program Chair for the 2014 American Control Conference, passed away early morning November 12, 2014, peacefully and surrounded by family,” writes AACC President Tariq Samad.  Gary volunteered for several ACC positions, including Local Arrangements Chair (2006 Minneapolis), Finance Chair (2012 Montréal), and Program Chair (2014 Portland).  He is remembered fondly by his colleagues for his service and persona. 

Colleagues and friends have established a Gary Balas Memorial Fund to support scholarships for deserving students from his home program.  Gifts may be made to Gary Balas Memorial Fund c/o Kathy Peters-Martell, University of Minnesota, College of Science and Engineering, 105 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis MN 55455.

The Obituary notice for Gary is reproduced from:  http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/49204/?fullname=gary-balas.

Balas, Gary age 54, longtime resident of St. Paul died November 12th, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. Gary was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics from 1990-2014. He was an international leader in the field of experimental and theoretical control systems. Gary was a Distinguished McKnight University Professor and served as the Department Head for eight years. He served as Director of Graduate Studies and Co-Director of the Control Science and Dynamical Systems Program. Gary also served the University of Minnesota in many capacities, including as chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee of the University Senate. Gary was an accomplished scholar who authored or co-authored over 75 journal publications, over 160 referred conference papers and invited papers, 10 book articles and many honors and awards. Gary loved working with students and colleagues. He was the thesis adviser for 36 Masters and 21 Ph.D. students, and maintained long-standing collaborations and friendships with colleagues from around the world. Gary Balas was truly outstanding at research, teaching and service. His leadership of the Department and his unwavering positive energy were instrumental in bringing talented people to Minnesota and also in improving the department's home in Akerman Hall. Gary was also a wonderful husband for 23 years and dedicated father of three beautiful children. Gary was always able to balance his busy career in order to provide love, humor, wisdom and time to his family. He was also a cherished neighbor and friend. Gary is survived by his wife, Stephanie, his three children, Nathaniel, Johanna and Henry, his mother Mildred and brother Bill. A memorial gathering in his honor will be held on the afternoon of December 3 at the Campus Club in Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota. More details on the service will be posted to the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics web site at http://www.aem.umn.edu/ In addition, colleagues and friends have established a Gary Balas Memorial Fund to support deserving AEM students. Gifts may be made to Gary Balas Memorial Fund c/o Kathy Peters-Martell, University of Minnesota, College of Science & Engineering, 105 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis MN 55455.