Charles L. Blount

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Charles L. Blount, age 82, self-made entrepreneur and businessman of Gainesville, Florida, passed away on Friday, December 28, 2012, in Gainesville. Charley was born in Rogersville, Missouri, on June 30, 1930.

Charley graduated from Rogersville High School in May, 1947. He was a self-employed dairy farmer and attended Drury University majoring in Business Administration. He was awarded the National Defense Service medal and other commendations during his service in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. Upon leaving the military in 1958, he accepted a job with Kraft Foods in Springfield, Missouri, as Field Supervisor, securing milk contracts for their cheese plants. He began a career in the automobile business in 1968, after attending a school of automobile financing and insurance in Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Gainesville and began working in the Finance and Insurance Department of University Chevrolet After 1972. He opened a series of automobile dealerships in the southeast, including, in Florida, Blount Pontiac, GMC, Honda, Mazda, Isuzu, in Gainesville, Volkswagen in Ocala, Acura in Lakeland, Honda in Leesburg, Chevrolet in Haines City, Buick in Winter Haven, and, in Georgia, Conyers Honda. Growing out of his interests in the automobile industry, the Santa Fe Community College Automotive Technology Program was revitalized and established and is recognized locally, statewide and nationally as an exemplary program. A permanently endowed equipment fund and scholarship fund was established from his dealerships throughout Florida and Georgia.

Under the leadership of Charles L. Blount, one of the most ambitious charitable projects ever in Alachua County resulted in the development and renovation of a blighted, old railroad depot into the first class Santa Fe College Downtown Center. His hundreds of hours of volunteer work in the planning phase, overseeing the construction and personal fund-raising sessions, brought the Charles L. Blount Downtown Center into being. Several thousand students have directly benefited as a result of his leadership and generosity and thousands more will benefit each year in perpetuity. He also established a perpetual endowment fund to provide for the maintenance of the downtown center. He served on the board of the Santa Fe Community College Endowment Corporation for 30 years and as its elected president for three years.

Charles Blount was a successful businessman and real estate developer. He was a major partner in the development of Haile Plantation and the Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club. Charley was also, for more than twenty years, a successful rancher in Southwest Missouri successfully running a sizable beef and turkey production farm and growing crops, such as corn, soybeans, hay and wheat. Charley was a member of Shriners International, Past President of the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Past President of the American Heart Association and the National Automobile Dealers' Council. He was the E.T. York, Jr. Distinguished Service Award Winner for the 1990 Volunteer of the Year.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Norman Blount and Stella Smith Blount. Survivors include his loving wife, Patsy M. Blount, daughters Vickie ReNae Blount and Jana Blount Stubbs (Scott), stepchildren W. Mark McCollough (Robin), Linda A. McCollough Cynthia M. Thibault (Mike), grandchildren, Jennifer and Charlie Stubbs, Madison, Robert and Thomas McCollough, Mitchell and Lydia Season, and Zachary, Sydney, Harrison and Porter Thibault. He is also survived by his brothers, William K. Blount and James R. Blount (Barbara) and sister, JoAn B. Bass (Eugene), his cousin, Richard T. Smith (Jean) as well as many loving nieces, nephews, colleagues and friends.

There will be a visitation held at the funeral home Friday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2013, at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Center, 5000 N W. 83rd Street, Gainesville, Florida. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Charles L. Blount Scholarship Fund at the above address.

Published in Gainesville Sun from Jan. 3 to Jan. 6, 2013
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