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Dr. Hillard F. Blankenship

Dr. Hillard F. Blankenship

Hillard Fly Blankenship was born on the family farm on September 12, 1915 near Purdy, Missouri. His parents were Eula Fly Blankenship and Herbert R. Blankenship. He and his parents moved to Springfield when he was seven years old. He departed this life on June 20, 2011.

Hillard grew up in Springfield. His favorite pet during his youth was a dog named Bob. He played the clarinet in the world's largest Boy Scout Band. They played for many parades and events including the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. He attended Springfield High School. Hillard studied Engineering at Southwest Missouri State University, where he met his future wife, Vivian Hagood.

Hillard volunteered for military service in July, 1941. He was a member of the United States Army Air Corps and entered service at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He participated in training at McClellan Air Field in Sacramento, Calif. His unit was one of the first units of the 8th Air Force to arrive in England and was stationed near Manchester, England. He played the clarinet and saxophone in a dance band that played for Saturday night dances. He achieved the rank of technical sergeant during his service to his country.

Hillard and Vivian corresponded by letters during World War II. They were married on December 23, 1945, in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Mo.

In January, 1946, Vivian and Hillard moved to Chicago to attend the Northern Illinois College of Optometry where they received their Doctor of Optometry degrees. Hillard was a member of the Omega Epsilon Phi Fraternity. They returned to Springfield and enjoyed 55 years of practice and service. Hillard was a charter member of the Queen City Lions Club. Vivian and Hillard did hundreds of free eye exams for the Lions Club for disadvantaged children.

Hillard and Vivian were members of Westminster Presbyterian Church. He was also a member of the AOA, MOA, the Elks, and the American Legion. Hillard and Vivian were founding members of G.O.O.S, Greater Ozarks Optometric Society.

Hillard loved to go camping and boating with family and friends, and one of his favorite camping spots was Baxter State Park on Table Rock Lake. He spent hours pulling his daughter and her friends on skis up and down Table Rock Lake in his red and white Glass Craft boat.

Hillard was preceded in death by his parents; his son, John H. Blankenship; and his beloved wife, Vivian H. Blankenship.

Survivors include his daughter and son-in-law, Sara Susan and Randy Gleason of Bartlesville, Oklahoma; his grandson, David Randolph Gleason; his granddaughter, Susan Marie Gleason; and his dog, Charlie.

Visitation will be held Friday, June 24, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home, 1635 N. Benton, Springfield. Services will be held on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral home. Burial with military rites will follow in the Eastlawn Cemetery.

Memorial donations are suggested to the Queen City Lions Club for eye exams, P.O. Box 3171, Springfield, MO. 65808.

Online condolences may be made at www.klingnerfuneralhome.com.

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Funeral Home

Klingner Funeral Home
1635 North Benton Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 862-0511

Published in the News-Leader on June 23, 2011
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