A memorial service will be held Sunday for Edward Ristaino, the Cornelius resident, perfusionist and hot air balloonist who died Friday, March 16, as the result of a hot air balloon accident in Ben Hill County, Ga. Also this weekend, friends, family and neighbors are planning two balloon releases in his memory.
The service begins at 3 p.m. Sunday in the chapel of Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home with Rev. Kristie Darling officiating, and the family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m. prior to the service.
Also this weekend, two balloon releases are planned in his memory. First, on Friday night, people will gather in the Fresh Market parking lot for a vigil and balloon release beginning at 7:15 p.m. Organizers are asking people to bring helium-filled balloons and write “for Ed” on them. The balloons will be released at 7:30 p.m.
Then on Saturday, neighbors of the Ristainos on Heron Harbor will release 100 green balloons – the color of the dragon on his hot air balloon – at 6 p.m. waterside.
“Ed was just a quality man,” neighbor Diana Rochester said. She remembers how he used to take off and land in his balloon in their yard sometimes, she said. “He will be missed.”
March 19, 2012: “Missing Cornelius balloonist did not survive crash in Ga.”
March 21, 2012: “Obituary, Edward L. Ristaino, 63”