James Edwin Blanchard

James Edwin Blanchard (BS Civ Egr ’42) died March 17, 2011, at Boulder Park Terrace in Charlevoix, Mich. He was born April 3, 1918, in Albion, Mich., the son of Fred and Emma Meinke Blanchard. He graduated from Washington Gardner High School in Albion in 1936 and then MSU. On April 29, 1945, he married Dorothy Rafter, and she preceded him in death in 2005 after 60 years of marriage.

Blanchard was employed at Commonwealth Associates, later Gilbert/Commonwealth, from 1947 to 1983. He rose to vice president and manager of engineering. The sentinel event of his life occurred at age seven, when he contracted polio and had a paralyzed left arm for the rest of his life. He chose to live his life fully in spite of his handicap, of which he rarely spoke. He had a successful career in engineering and led an active life—swimming, fishing, big-game hunting, traveling, and maintaining his home and tools. Retirement pastimes included chair caning and basket making.

Blanchard served on the boards of the Jackson, Mich., YMCA; Vista Grande Villa; Recycle Jackson; and the United Way. He also was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson.

He is survived by his son, Paul D. (Lisa) Blanchard, MD, of Petoskey, Mich.; and granddaughters Katie Blanchard of Northfield, Minn., and Ellen Blanchard of Gambier, Ohio.