Richard Balian
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Obituary of Richard R. Balian

Richard R. Balian, "Dick," 88, died on September 13, 2014, at Geneva General Hospital. Born and raised in Auburn, he was the son of the late Aram and Aurora (Markarian) Balian.

Dick was well known as the owner of the carpet store Balian's, Inc. The business was started as an Oriental rug store by his dad in 1925. Before his retirement in 2007, Dick had built the business into one of the most respected and successful carpet stores in the area.

He was passionate about many things, including flying, photography, ice-skating, skiing, bicycling, and canoeing. He and his longtime friend, Dr. Don "Doc" Westee, biked and canoed all over the region, and once biked to Florida. In 1990, they won the U.S. Canoe Association Championship in the over 60 category.

During WW II, he drove a Sherman Tank in the U.S. Army's 11th Armored Division, 42nd Tank Battalion in Germany and Austria. His war experience led to a lifelong love of Europe and good beer. He returned to Europe 10 times, including three bike tours with Doc Westee and others, and he proudly proclaimed that he'd never had a bad beer.

Dick learned to fly at the old Auburn Airport in Throop. He bought a seaplane and barnstormed around the Finger Lakes, giving rides to people for $5. At one time or another, he was active in the Auburn Camera Club, the Cayuga Museum, and the Kiwanis Club, First Presbyterian Church, among others.

Dick is survived by his wife, Jane Short Balian; two sons, Rick Balian of Los Angeles, California, and David Balian and his wife Lynn of Auburn; a brother, Edward Balian of Dewitt; a sister, Lillian Lundquist, of Kelseyville, California; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, a sister, Marie Pearson, predeceased him. He also leaves behind many great stories and friendships.

Following his wishes, there are no calling hours or services. Langham Funeral Home is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

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