Wiley Blair III passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara at the age of 94 on March 24, 2013. He was born on July 24, 1918 in Dallas, Texas to Bess Kell Blair and Wiley Blair, Jr. He spent his formative years in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He attended Fountain Valley School of Colorado Springs from 1934 to 1937, graduating Cum Laude. In 1941 he graduated from Yale University's Sheffield Scientific School and was a member of the Omicron Chapter of Chi Phi Fraternity. On March 21, 1942 Wiley Blair III and Susanne (Susie) Ericson Nourse were married in Los Angeles, California. In 1942, Wiley volunteered to join the U.S. Army and began his training in Oklahoma at Fort Sills' Officer Candidate School. He was a commissioned Lieutenant in the U. S. Army's Field Artillery and participated in the European Theater of Operations with the 789th Field Artillery Battalion, 69th Infantry Division. He earned two battle stars and was promoted to Captain before returning home to Carmel, CA. in 1946. From 1951-1952 he was recalled to active duty again, serving in Korea where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. Wiley worked for Spreckels Sugar, San Francisco from 1943 to 1949. In 1949 he and his young family relocated to San Marino, California and he began working for the California Cotton Oil Corporation. He was promoted to Director and Executive Vice President. When the California Cotton Oil Corporation was sold in 1964, Wiley commenced a new career in real estate. As a real estate broker, he managed and developed properties throughout Southern California. In 1980, he and his wife Susie retired to Montecito, California where they were a team in designing their award winning garden on Via Manana. In 1999, they moved to Casa Dorinda. Wiley was always involved in his community with such organizations as the Pasadena Child Guidance Clinic, the Alliance of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and as a trustee of Fountain Valley School of Colorado. Upon moving to Santa Barbara, he devoted time to the Santa Barbara Zoological Society, the Music Academy of the West and, of course, the C.R.A.F.T. Club. He had a passion for travel, always with a camera in hand, artistically capturing new vistas and new faces. He and Susie loved to fly fish, especially in Montana, and quail hunting with friends at Club Cazadores de la Grulla in Mexico. Wiley was a creative photographer, an avid golfer and a talented woodworker. Wiley Blair III is survived by his daughters Susan Riley (Patrick), Margaret Spaulding and Katherine Kell Rible (Justin); 5 grandchildren: Kimberly Riley Vigil (Michael), Katie Riley La Garza (Martin), Tim Riley (Amy), Shayne Spaulding-Shepherd (Josh), Cameron Spaulding, and 10 great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Susanne (Susie) Nourse Blair and sister Elizabeth Blair MacDougall. Wiley will always be remembered by his family and friends for his great wit and friendly smile, and for his devotion to his wife Susie, the love of his life. The family is grateful for the outstanding care of Dr. Babji Mesipam, the compassionate and loving care of Genaro Leon, Mauricio Leon, Areli Leon, Maria Leon as well as the always attentive and excellent staff at Casa Dorinda. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be in memory of Wiley Blair III to the Santa Barbara Zoo, 500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103 (www.sbzoo.org/support us/donate) or Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, P.O. Box 689, Santa Barbara, CA 93102 (www.sbch.org).
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Published in The Gazette from Apr. 7 to Apr. 14, 2013