Guy Ervin Blankenship passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 8, 2013, in Denver, Colo., after a long battle with various illnesses. He was born Feb. 5, 1947, in Lake Jackson, Texas, to the proud parents, Harold Blankenship and Rosemary Jester.
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In 1949, Hal moved Guy and his younger brother Gary to Denver after the death of Hal's young wife, to be close to family. Growing up in Denver, Guy would excel as an athlete, earning both a football and track scholarship to Northeastern Junior College.
Ranking ninth in the nation at Division II in the shot put, he then went to University of Colorado at Boulder, where he double majored in English literature and physical education.
In 1971, Guy packed up his young wife, two coyotes and three cats and drove north to Fairbanks to accept a teaching position and fulfill his dream of living in the Arctic and mushing dogs.
Guy was a man of rare character; the only attribute that rivaled his physical strength and work ethic was his intelligence. In everything Guy set his mind on, he excelled.
While teaching at Two Rivers Elementary he, "Mr. B.," developed such a competitive cross-country ski program that the trails there are still dedicated to "Mr. B." In dog mushing he was a three-time North American Freight Race champion, president of Alaska Dog Mushers Association, manager of the Dog Mushers Hall and seven-time finisher of the Iditarod. All seven finishes were in the top 20, including several seventh-place finishes. He was a skilled craftsman and worked as a construction superintendent for Baron Construction, overseeing multimillion-dollar contracts. Eventually, Guy would move back to Denver to work as a self-employed craftsman.
Guy lived his life to the fullest, with the rare courage to pursue his dreams. He was strong, tough, stubborn, driven, goal-oriented, passionate and intelligent. He was a man who pushed others to work harder, to be better. Rare is the man that would recite Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in Middle English yet teach his son how to swing a hammer and the proper words to say if the hammer should strike a thumb.
You will be missed, Pa.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, James and Ethel Hague; father and stepmother, Harold and Shirley Blankenship, and brother, Gary Blankenship. He is remembered by his two sons, Nathan and Christian Blankenship; his sister, Glenda Blankenship, and countless others whose lives were touched by this extraordinary man.
Visit www.ahlbergfuneralchapel.com to share condolences.
Published in Daily News-Miner on July 15, 2013