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Remembering Limo Fire Victim Jenni Balon: Live Each Day the Best You Can

Husband and family of the late Dublin resident share their memories of one of the five women who died in a Saturday night limousine fire on the San Mateo-Hayward bridge.

As a wife, Jenni Balon started her day preparing her husband's work lunch and getting his clothes ready to wear — clean and pressed.

As a mother, Jenni spent each morning helping her daughter get ready for school, serving her breakfast and then taking her to class.

And as a daughter, Jenni frequently sent care packages of gifts to her mother in the Philippines.

. Her husband and family sat down with Patch on Tuesday in their Dublin home and shared their memories of her.

Jenni Balon appreciated her family. She loved being around them and caring for them. She defined the term "family first."

"Live each day the best you can," said her uncle, Phillip Johnson of Dublin. "That's how she lived her life. Jenni made each day count."

John and Jenni

John, 38, met Jenni in the Philippines through a mutual friend in 1999. Their first date was at a disco bar, and John was immediately taken by her presence.

"She was beautiful, loving, caring, friendly and easy to be with," he said. "You wouldn't be intimidated when you talk to her."

The two married in 2002 and moved their family to the United States in 2007, settling in Dublin after a stint in Hayward.

Jenni worked as a nurse at Fruitvale Healthcare Center in Oakland, where John is a physical therapist.

In addition to John, she is survived by her two children, 10-year-old Jillian and 22-month-old Jayden; her mother in the Philippines; and five siblings living throughout Asia.

"(Jenni) made life easy for me and the kids," John said.

Family first

Jenni enjoyed shopping — but even then it was a family-oriented event.

It wasn't unusual for Jenni to leave the mall with bags filled with items for her husband and children.

And if an item she purchased for herself didn't fit?

"Jenni would give them to me and wouldn't even return it," said her cousin, Willen Berdos of Union City. "She was a generous person."

Jenni rarely did anything that didn't involve being with her family.

Saturday night was one of those rare occasions. She planned to celebrate a friend's new marriage just hours after hosting a birthday party for her daughter.

"...I lost Jenni"

John received a call at 2 a.m. Sunday informing him of the fatal limousine fire on the bridge.

"They told me my wife was involved in an accident and that it was still under investigation," John said, who then traveled to the California Highway Patrol's Redwood City office after receiving the call.

"They told me five women didn't make it and that my wife was one of them," he said. "It wasn't until I came home when I realized I lost Jenni."

Services for Jenni are still being planned.

Mom22Boyz May 08, 2013 at 02:12 PM
How can we help this family? What school does her daughter attend?

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