Dale Blair left this world and went on to his eternal home on November 4, 2023, at the age of 91. His death was amazingly peaceful, surrounded by the love and prayers of his devoted family.
Dale LeRoy Blair was born on March 18, 1932, at home on the family farm to parents Todd and Mamie Blair; welcomed also by big brother Ralph and sister Betty. The farm was located in Scotts Valley, in Tum Tum, WA. He attended the one room schoolhouse about 1/4 mile across a field from the family home. He had an idyllic childhood with barefoot summers, fishing and swimming in the river. He enjoyed inventing games to play with all the excess watermelons his father grew. Community 4th of July picnics, dances, and Saturday night house parties helped balance the extremely hard work put in by everyone just to survive. Snowy winters were spent sledding in deep snow down the hill with all the neighboring kids. Harvesting, threshing parties, canning the bounty of vegetables and meat rounded out the summer. Every day was filled with chores and the never-ending care of the farm crops and animals. This was the foundation of the strong work ethic that became central to his entire life. Despite being poor by worldly standards, they never went hungry or were cold and there was always food and goods to share with needy neighbors. His parents modeled generosity and a sense of community-caring that Dale demonstrated all his life.
In 1943 the family sold the farm and moved to Spokane where Dale attended Emerson elementary school and later North Central High School. After graduation he joined the Navy and served on a ship in the Pacific during the Korean conflict. When his Naval service was complete, he returned to Spokane and went to trade school to become a Sheet Metal Worker, a career that spanned his entire working life. On June 23, 1956, he married his sweetheart, Margaret Ann McNamee. He took on not only a wife, but also her two young sons whom he adopted. Together they raised their two sons and two daughters in Spokane and developed many lifelong friendships. They were members of St. Joseph's Catholic Church on west Dean for 30 plus years. In 1975 they moved out to Riverside and built a new house on ten acres. Many of the older grandchildren's fondest memories were made there. At that time, they joined St. Joseph's parish in Colbert. Dale was very involved in the parish process for building the current church on Colbert Road in the 1980's.
After retirement Dale and Margaret enjoyed working on their "house project", a neglected and dilapidated property they purchased in the Spokane Valley. The sight of the said property brought tears to a family member’s eye who couldn't imagine anyone living there. Through their hard work the old farmhouse was transformed into a beautiful little cottage and a lovely setting for family weddings and parties. We all have great memories of going to Grandma and Grandpa's house for special occasions or just dropping by to get some love. Over the years he added additions onto the old house, and it seems like they came up with a new arrangement of flower beds, fruit trees and raised garden beds every growing season.
He happily served as the family fix-it man and was the first one we all called to help with most anything and everything. There was never a job too large or too small that he would not tackle and help with. He led by example, teaching and showing you how it was done.
Into every life a little rain must fall and so it goes. In July of 2009 he had to endure the death of his youngest daughter, Lucy. He and Margaret shared their immense grief with each other and the rest of the family. Sadly, Margaret died of a broken heart only six months later. Dale told me then that he would choose to go on with life and not give up. He continued serving in senior activities at church and with the Knights of Columbus. He married his friend Kathleen Devine in August of 2011, and they enjoyed traveling to visit family and taking tours to The Holy Land and Italy. They were in the beginning stages of planning a trip to Pearl Harbor when Kathy fell ill and died in the Spring of 2016.
In 2020 Dale was sidelined by a broken hip. He decided to sell his home and moved into the Revel Spokane Senior Community. He made new friends as part of an early morning coffee and breakfast group. He adjusted well to apartment life and truly enjoyed his new home at Revel for the past 3 plus years.
He was a quiet and kind, gentle man, he had a long-standing deeply rooted faith and relationship with the Creator and the fruit of the Spirit was always evident in his life. He will be forever fondly remembered for his quick smile, gentle blue eyes, caring heart and unconditional love. Although our hearts are heavy and somehow things just can't be right without him here, we will celebrate his life and find comfort knowing that he is free from the limits of his spent mortal body. He is happily reunited with his dear daughter, Lucy and Margaret, his wife of 56 years.
Dale is survived by sons John Michael Blair, wife Sherry of Spokane; Robert Patrick Blair of Newport, WA; daughter Benita Blair Leavy, husband Kevin of Spokane Valley. 14 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, 13 great-great-grandchildren. He will be sadly missed by his many nieces, nephews, friends and caregivers.
He is preceded in death by his two dear siblings Ralph Blair and Betty Zurlinden, his wife Margaret's seven siblings, and dear daughter-in-law Leslie Blair.
All are welcome to our celebration of Dale’s life on Friday, November 17, 11:00am Hennessey Valley Chapel 1315 N. Pines Road in the Spokane Valley. Reception following the service. Committal service will be held at 2:00pm at St. Joseph’s Cemetery 17825 E. Trent Ave. To share memories of Dale and leave condolences for the family, please visit Dale's Tribute Wall.