Vail Daily obituary: Richard “Dick” Joseph Blair, May 26, 1929, to June 26, 2017
Dick Blair, of Edwards, and Santa Barbara, California, passed peacefully into the arms of God on Monday morning, June 26, at 2:30 a.m. He was at Serenity House surrounded by his loving family. Dick was 88 years old and for six years has been battling cancer, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Dick was born in Los Angeles, California, May 26, 1929, to Lillian Trapp Blair and Sam Polow, who soon divorced.
He attended elementary school and high school in southern California, except for his senior year, when he attended New Mexico Military Institute. Dick was an outstanding athlete and participated in gymnastics, wrestling and played football. He went on to get his Bachelor of Science degree at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Dick excelled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps and specialized in artillery. With his training from New Mexico Military Institute, he was rapidly promoted from corporal to first lieutenant.
He was called into the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean conflict and performed beyond his official rank to serve as battery commander in Operation Big Switch.
After returning from the war, he and his family moved back to Colorado, where Dick worked in the insurance business and also became a broker for Payne Webber Jackson and Curtis. He and his first wife Karolynka divorced in the late 1960s.
In 1974, Dick became sole proprietor of Colorado Aero Tech, an aviation-mechanics school. He grew that company into one of the largest and most successful aviation-tech schools in the United States. He also acquired the land adjacent to the school. He had his own airplane and truly loved to fly. He was an avid snowboarder, skier, sailor and fly fisherman.
In 1978, he met the love of his life, Jeannette Arithson. They married in 1980 and also renewed their vow to follow Christ and were happily married until his passing.
Dick served as the president of the Colorado Private School Association, on the board of the National Association of Trade and Technical Schools and was president of the Aviation Technicians Educational Council. In 1981, he sold the school and eventually the land when he retired.
Immediately upon retirement he poured himself into Christian philanthropic activities. He served on many boards and committees of churches and of para-church organizations, including Harvest Foundation of Phoenix, which does worldwide outreach; Mike Silva International, out of Portland, which practices evangelism primarily in Latin American Countries; and Promise Keepers, out of Denver and Boulder, to name a few.
He founded a matching program for prisoners with friends called Friends in Transition, now known as Friends of Youth in Denver, which he continued to support. He had a heart for the poor and downtrodden, here and abroad, and was driven to spread the life-changing message of the gospel. His witness for Christ continued until the very last day of his life.
Dick Blair was preceded in death by his mother, Lillian Blair; his brother Bob Blair and wife Pat; his precious daughter Cambia Blair; his son-in-law John Adkins and many distant loved ones on both sides of the family.
He is survived by his wife Jeannette Blair, his daughters Victoria K. Blair Adkins, Tresi K Blair Houpt (Jefferson) and son Richard J Blair II, AKA Jake Blair; grandchildren Nicole Blair Adkins (Eric), Emelia Blair Adkins (Tomas), Samuel Beyer Blair Houpt,(Kenzie) and Franklin Claypool Houpt (Kenzie); great-grandchildren Zoe Blair Johnson and Isaac Russell Johnson; half brother Joel Rosenkranz (Janice) and many more cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial will be held Sept. 18 at 1:30 p.m. at The Vail Church, 39209 U.S. Highway 6 in Avon, with a celebration of life reception to follow at the Blair Homestead; details to be announced at service. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity in memory of Dick Blair.
In his last years, Dick wrote his Memoir, “Too Blessed to be Stressed: The Spiritual Journey of Dick Blair.” If you would like to read more about the story of his life, then the book is available on Amazon.
The storm that blew through the Central Rockies began to clear Tuesday afternoon, just in time for a smaller storm to show up Wednesday and Thursday.