Bland, Virgil Dale Sr.
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Virgil Dale Bland Sr., beloved brother, father, uncle and friend, a man of courage and pride, passed away on May 8, 2011, after a long and brave fight with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He was 64. Virgil donated his body to Banner Sun Health Research Institute in the hopes of helping others. Virgil was born in Alliance, Ohio, on November 26, 1946, the youngest of three children to Virgil David Bland and Irma Stackhouse. He attended McKinley High School in Sebring, Ohio, where his record of 103 pull-ups in one minute still stands. Virgil graduated in 1964 and, at 17, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps; where he served his country until 1970. Virgil was a natural entrepreneur who saw opportunity where others did not and turned every business into a success. He studied business at Arizona State University, while working for General Electric in Phoenix. Virgil then launched Business Resource Services and BRS Leasing, Inc., two Valley computer rental and repair businesses at a time when computers still were relatively new to businesses, it was cheaper to rent than buy, and few companies had their own IT departments. He got into the private pay-phone business after the breakup of Mountain Bell and turned his love of the game of 9-ball into a successful business venture, owning D.J.'s Billiards in Phoenix for a time. He invested in real estate; he relished numbers that added up, a balance sheet, and the art of a good deal. Mostly, he enjoyed traveling, spending time with his children and grandchildren, a good shrimp cocktail and his favorite Hornitos margarita from La Curva in Rocky Point, Mexico. Virgil was a mentor, often times a prankster, enjoyed the game of golf and time with the boys at the Elk Lodge. He was known to have vitamins in each pocket and didn't go a day without oatmeal and ice cream. Virgil appreciated each day and carved out his own path in life. He was charming and gentle, with a glint in his blue eyes and a mischievous smile, hard to resist, and loved by his family and friends. Virgil is survived by his sister Peggy Gotter; her husband, Bill of Louisville, Ohio; son Justin Bland of Phoenix, Arizona; his wife, Elle; daughter Shantel Glick of Anthem, Arizona; her husband, Bryan; daughter Kasey Harris of Phoenix, Arizona; her husband, Alex; and son Virgil Bland Jr., of Twenty-nine Palms, California, a Corporal in the U.S. Marines Corp., continuing a family tradition of military service; grandchildren Bailey Galacci; Sophia and Gavin Glick; and Lilly Bland; nieces and nephews. We have lost a brother, father and friend; through our tears we will remember he is free and still winking at us from across the room with a twinkle in his eye. Please join us in celebrating Virgil's life at 4 p.m. May 20, 2011 at Christ Church Lutheran, 3901 E. Indian School Road, in Phoenix.
Published in The Arizona Republic from May 15 to May 18, 2011