Obituary: Edward ‘Eddie’ Blender, Jan. 1, 1934, to Oct. 28, 2017
Humanitarian, activist, philanthropist, charismatic leader, intrepid sportsman and loyal friend Eddie Blender died of amyloid cardiomyopathy on Oct. 28, 2017. His family was at his side.
A more than 25-year resident of the Vail Valley, Eddie was born in Philadelphia and proudly graduated as valedictorian from the Class of 1951 South Philadelphia High School for Boys. An alumnus of Temple University, he earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 1958 from the Temple University School of Dentistry. Eddie then served in the U.S. Navy at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina.
After military service, Eddie returned to suburban Philadelphia to pursue the private practice of dentistry, marking the beginning of an enormously successful career as a sought-after, preeminent dentist, the result of his remarkable professional skills combined with a deeply passionate commitment to the well being of his patient population.
A committee of his peers named Eddie a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry — a distinctive honor awarded dentists dedicated to continuing professional education. He taught numerous post-graduate seminars and volunteered thousands of hours of his time and talent traveling abroad providing much-needed dental care and education to the world’s underserved communities.
He embraced life to its fullest. A fearless sportsman and adventurer, Eddie was an avid cyclist, Riding the Rockies with his bicycle buddies including wife, Patti; and an ardent skier, enjoying so many mountains throughout Europe — not to forget his beloved home mountain Vail, where he regularly tackled the most challenging Back Bowls because “they were there to be conquered.”
In 1993, Eddie was introduced to Rotary International and engaged in contributing with dedication and passion. Throughout his decades of service to the Rotary mission, he performed many roles and was an active, innovative, energetic participant and strong leader, most notably chairing the Rotary World Peace Centers and Major Gifts Initiative, twice assuming the global role of training incoming Rotary International District Governors and representing the Rotary International President at meetings throughout the world at eight major events. Locally, Eddie held leadership roles as club president and district governor. In 2003, the Trustees awarded him The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service. He is a Paul Harris Fellow.
A truly charismatic leader, Eddie led by example. As validation of his fervent belief in the certainty of world peace, he established the Edward and M. Patricia Blender Endowed Rotary World Peace Fellowship.
Eddie Blender is survived by his beloved wife, M. Patricia “Patti” Blender, of Edwards; his two daughters, Sharon Blender (Paul Grabowski), of Golden, and Lee Estep (Dale Estep), of Scranton, Pennsylvania; his grandson, Adam Louis Grabowski, of Golden; his brother, Dr. Burton Blender (Libby S. Harwitz), of Philadelphia; and his sister, Sondra Blender Altman (Izzy Altman, of blessed memory), of Margate, New Jersey.
The life of Eddie Blender will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Singletree Community Center, 1010 Berry Creek Road in Edwards. Friends are welcome to stop by any time between 3 and 6 p.m. Eddie’s life will be celebrated in Philadelphia in early 2018.
A college scholarship fund supporting underserved young adults has been established to honor Eddie’s memory. Contributions may be made to the Eddie Blender Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o Alpine Bank, 141 E. Meadow Drive, Suite 210, Vail, CO 81657.