Waterford - George Blahun, 93, of Quaker Hill, passed away on June 6, 2014, at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital with his family by his side.
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 24, 1921, to James and Ksenia Blahun. At the age of three, his family moved to Center Moriches, Long Island, N.Y. He graduated from Center Moriches High School in 1939, and joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1940, and was stationed in Ellis Island, N.Y. Then after an audition, was transferred to the USCG Academy Band. He played several instruments while with the band and played in several presidential inaugurations.
After arriving in New London, he became acquainted with Rev. Oliver Bell, pastor of the New London Methodist Church, formerly located where the court house now stands. A service men's club was formed and George was president at one time. Rev. Bell also introduced him to many families of the church, and he cherished their friendship. And to this day, he would reminisce how wonderful it was that these families were so kind to him. George would say he was a Russian Orthodox, but he so enjoyed attending the Methodist Church, the church where he met his wife.
The family home burned to a total loss in Long Island in the early 40s and the family lost everything. As an only child, he moved his parents to New London with him. He attended carpenter's school in order to build a small cottage for his parents and cared for them for many years.
He was married in 1948, to Dorothy N. Beebe, who was the daughter of LeBurton and Blanche Parker-Beebe at the Russian Orthodox Church in Norwich. The Blahuns have a son, George Blahun Jr. and (Janie) of Quaker Hill and a daughter, Diane Blahun of Farmington.
George retired in 1978 as a the Public Affairs Director for the USCG Band. He is a veteran of World War II
, the Korean and Vietnam War
s. He also performed before his retirement in the Eastern Connecticut Symphony. While at the Coast Guard Academy, he faithfully swam several days a week.
After sending his two children to college, George decided to return to college as well. He attended Connecticut College and graduated in 1982 with a degree in sociology. When he received his diploma, the entire class stood and applauded.
Enjoying the warmer weather, George and his wife lived in Wellington, Fla., for six months and Connecticut for six months of the year. In 1986, they built a home in Hobe Sound, Fla., and lived the winters there for many years, always enjoying his family and friends coming to visit. While in Hobe Sound, Fla., he formed the Florida Concert Band made up of many retired professional musicians who performed throughout the state. He also was in real estate both in Connecticut and Florida for many years.
Being an avid Yankee fan his entire life, it was a thrill at age 14 to meet Lou Gehrig following a game at Yankee stadium. George received Gehrig's autograph while walking across the ball field with him and always treasured this memory.
George was a life member of the USDR, Scottish Rite, National Sojourners, Masonic Veterans of Connecticut, Brainard Lodge #102 A.F.&A.M., A.A.O.N.M.S., and in 1975, was president of the Sphinx Bedouin Shrine Club.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2014, at Gardner Cemetery, Ocean Ave., New London. All are welcome. There are no calling hours.
Byles Memorial Home, 99 Huntington St., New London, is assisting with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in George's memory to Shriners Childrens Hospital, 516 Carew St., Springfield, MA 01104.
Please visit www.Byles.com
to sign the guestbook or to share a memory.