MELVIN EUGENE BLANKENSHIP
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Gene passed into eternal life peacefully at home after a short illness, surrounded by his loved ones.
Born to Melvin M. and Mary F. Blankenship he grew up in Merced. After graduating from Merced High School in 1958 he attended Pasadena Nazarene College. While there he met and married, Catherine L. Kidd on August 4, 1962, and graduated a year later in 1963.
A true Merced native, Gene returned to Merced with his wife Cathy to start a teaching career and a family. Over the next 38 years he taught in Merced City Schools; primarily in special education. His students called him "Mr. B." until his retirement in 2001.
Gene loved to listen to Southern Gospel quartets, but traveling was his favorite pastime. He visited most of the United States as well as several countries; many of them in his RV. But despite being retired his restlessness got the best of him. After only one year he went back to work; this time with a new career as a funeral assistant for Stratford Evans Funeral Home. He truly loved his job and coworkers.
Gene was active in the California Teachers' Association and lobbied on the state level for teachers' benefits as retirement chairman in the 1970s. As a member of Merced Breakfast Lions for many years, he helped the community in fundraisers and events. He also loved high school football and basketball games where his voice could be heard announcing plays over the loud speakers.
Gene leaves behind his three sons; Bradley Steven Blankenship, MD and wife Terri of Modesto, CA, Darren Scott Blankenship and wife Melisa of Union City, CA, and David Alan Blankenship and wife Diana of Fayetteville, GA. Seven grandchildren will miss their Papa; Nicholas, Kathleen, Philip, Hannah, Julia, Caleb, and Joseph. Gene also leaves behind his sister Carlynn Simmons of Bonaire, GA and his brother James Blankenship of Foresthill, CA.
Visitation will be at Stratford Evans Merced Funeral Home, 1490 B St., Merced, CA 95341 on Sunday, November 17, 2013 from 2:00pm-7:00pm. Funeral services will be held at Christian Life Center where he attended, 650 E. Olive Ave., Merced, CA 95340 on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 10:00am.
Family requests flowers or donations in memory of Gene be made to Threads of Love sewing ministry at www.threadsoflove.org or (225)667-7714.
Published in Merced Sun Star from Nov. 13 to Nov. 16, 2013