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Clarence W. Blake

1921 - 2019
CLARENCE W. BLAKE 1921-2019 Friends and family are invited to a memorial service, and fellowship luncheon for Clarence Blake at Butte Bible Fellowship on October 12th at 11 AM. Clarence, "Clancy" Blake passed away June 14, 2019. Clarence was born in Willard Missouri, the youngest of 10 children born to Frances and Margaret Blake. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp. in 1942, trained as a parachute rigger, and then shipped out to North Africa in 1943. He often spoke of how his new life in the Army was an opportunity to enjoy "3 square meals and his own bed" for the first time in his life. His military experiences in the European theatre of war deeply impacted his life and became some of his strongest and most precious, albeit difficult memories. In 1943, the liberty ship ahead of his in the convoy to Africa was torpedoed and sunk with all aboard lost, a memory that he often tearfully recalled. During the war, Clarence was a member of the 56th Service Squadron, supporting the 79th Fighter Group, (12th Air Force) in frontline actions in Italy, the invasion of Southern France, and in Linz Austria during the post-war army of occupation. Many downed P-47 fighter/ bomber pilots who survived their bailouts returned to thank Clarence for carefully and skillfully packing their parachutes! After the war, Clarence met and married Joyce Jones in 1947, while both were working at Moffett Airfield in Sunnyvale, CA. They settled in Santa Clara and there raised a family. Daughter Gloria was born in 1952 and Phillip in 1955. Clarence worked for the defense department in San Jose, where he retired in 1973. Clarence and Joyce moved to Chico California in 1978 and enjoyed most of the rest of their retirement years there. One of his great passions was working with the Gideons Ministries, where Clarence devoted over 30 years holding Bible studies for boys in juvenile detention. In later years, the highlight of his week was attending the Gideon prayer breakfasts. Clarence moved to Napa, Ca in 2018 to be close to family, and was well cared for at the Stayman Estates Jomar house. His caregivers in Chico, (Happy At Home) and Napa loved him like family and for this we will all be eternally grateful! Clarence leaves behind many friends who loved hearing his stories, and his own family are feeling the pain of losing him, but happy that he lived a long life surrounded by those who loved him. He was remembered by close family and friends July 1 at a military honors burial ceremony at the Sacramento Valley Veteran's Cemetery. He is survived by daughter Gloria Casserino, (Frank) and son Phill Blake, (Melody), 4 grandchildren- Josh Casserino, Gina Casserino, Tara Smith, (Jeff) Tyler Blake, (Amy) and 2 great grandchildren, Calista Smith and Claire Smith. Oh yes, and also by his faithful companion, Jack The Dog. Clarence was predeceased by all of his siblings and his parents, and often stated in his last year, "Yes, I'm the last of the Mohicans". Godspeed dad. We love you too!
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Sept. 22, 2019
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