Claude S. Blenkush (1917 - 2012)

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Claude S. Blenkush, 95
White Bear Lake, formerly of St. Stephen
November 6, 1917 ~ December 24, 2012

Claude S. Blenkush, beloved father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, age 95, of White Bear Lake, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family at the Cerenity Senior Care Center.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Stephen Catholic Church in St. Stephen, Minnesota on December 28, 2012, at 10:30 am with interment following in the parish cemetery.

The Rev. Bob Harren will officiate. Friends and relatives may call from 9:30 am to 10:30 am prior to the service at the church.
Claude was born November 6, 1917 in Brockway Township, in Stearns County, to Andrew and Rose (Oman) Blenkush. He grew up on a dairy farm near the village of St. Stephen, Minnesota.

He was self-educated and a man of many skills. During World War II, he worked at the Alameda Naval Air Station in San Francisco, California, as an airplane mechanic. In 1943, he married Dorothy Hart of Oakland, California.

After the war, he operated a small dairy farm northeast of Melrose while working at the old Kraft Foods plant. After the Kraft plant closed down he was employed by Dairy Craft in Holdingford. In 1974 he married Jean Knoke of Minneapolis. He retired from Western/Delta Airlines in Minneapolis where he worked as an airplane mechanic for 15 years to a home on the Rum River near Isanti.

Claude loved aviation and flying. He earned a private pilot license and owned and flew a Cessna 140. During his retirement he restored a 55 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan to factory condition. He was a skilled wood worker building many items for family and friends over the years. During his life he also found time to build two houses. He enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Claude is survived by his nine children: Mike (Betty) Blenkush of Sauk Centre, Kathie LeBlanc of Hugo, Mary Woodford of St. Louis Park, Terry Super of White Bear Lake, Louise (Joe) Renik of White Bear Lake, John (Nancy) Blenkush of Forest Ranch, CA, Lolly Manske of Elizabeth, CO, Stephanie (Tim) Cooney of Napa, CA, and Tony (Cyndee) Blenkush of Gardiner, CO; 14 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; brothers and sisters: Philip Blenkush, Tacoma, Washington; Terry Gregory, Pearl Lake, Sr. Maureen Blenkush OSF, Little Falls; Patsy Sowada, St. Stephen; four step children and their families; and many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Andrew and Rose (Oman) Blenkush; wife Jean, November 2, 2007; son Joe, June 6, 1978; and brothers August Blenkush, Leon Blenkush, and Lawrence Blenkush, and sisters Mary Sowada, Dorothy Henz, and Florence Blenkush.

Serving as casket bearers are his grandchildren, Micki Blenkush, Merilee Peterson, Brendan Hinnenkamp, Joe Monnens, Christine Jemming, Marisa Hinnenkamp, Beth Zimmerman, and Mara Fortier. Serving as cross bearer is great grandson, Zachary Jemming.
In lieu of flowers memorials are preferred.

Arrangements were made with the Daniel Funeral Home of St. Cloud.

Published in the St. Cloud Times from Dec. 26 to Dec. 27, 2012
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