Celebration of Life
Friday, Jan. 10, 2020
3:00 PM
the Episcopal Church of the Advent
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William Blanton "Blan" McBride

1937 - 2019
William Blanton "Blan" McBride Obituary
William Blanton "Blan" McBride

William Blanton "Blan" McBride, age 82, died on November 22, 2019, in Tallahassee, FL. Blan was born May 26, 1937, in his parents' house in Decatur, AL. He grew up boating on the Tennessee River making lifelong friends, one of whom he would later marry. While in high school, he joined the Civil Air Patrol, contributing to his eventual recruitment into the United States Air Force. His budding interest in aviation was thwarted when the USAF made him a payroll clerk, trading potential wings for an introduction to accounting. He was stationed on Guam during the Korean War.

Blan then attended Georgia Tech on the GI Bill and married Eleanor Chenault. Following graduation, the couple returned to Decatur where Blan worked in precision manufacturing. He founded a state-of-the-art shop where his company made parts for the Saturn V rocket, Skylab, the moon buggy and Huey helicopters. Blan sold the business and then moved the family to Tuscaloosa, AL where he earned a Master of Accountancy. While there, he developed an interest in archeology and served one summer as the leader of excavations at the Moundville Archaeological Park. Next stop was the University of Illinois where he pursued a PhD in accounting. He presented at many conferences with papers about the accounting methods of the ancient Sumerians and other unique topics. He had scholarly access to the cuneiform tablets collection at the University of Chicago for his research.

Highly recruited by Harvard and NYU, Blan wanted to live near warm saltwater so he accepted a teaching position at FSU in 1976. As he did in graduate school, he took summers off, and the family traveled each year in an RV seeing the American west. Eventually, he bought a sailboat and the family cruised to the Dry Tortugas, Bahamas and Virgin Islands.

Blan started a consulting practice, wrote books and put on seminars for IBM, Business Week, General Motors, Square D, First Nation tribes and many others. He would not return to teach at FSU until many years later when he volunteered to teach classes in entrepreneurship.

Always innovating, Blan developed products as varied as a digital autopilot for boats, ballistic vests, prison locks, traffic control devices and mosquito control systems. He held several patents. Many of the prototypes were developed in his workshop at home.

Blan was a Rotarian for over fifty years having served as club president twice and was a Paul Harris Fellow. The Rotary Youth Camp benefitted by Blan's efforts at fundraising by offering classes in computer assembly for a fee that went to support the camp.

Blan is preceded in death by his wife Eleanor. Survivors include his children Beth McBride, John McBride (Jennifer), Diana McBride (Scott Manion) and grandchildren Eleanor "Ellie" Manion, William "Will" McBride and Piper McBride all of Tallahassee, FL. Blan is also survived by his sisters Suzanne Stone of Decatur, AL and Marilyn McBride of Palm Springs, CA.

A celebration of Blan's life will be held at 3:00 PM on January 10, 2020, at the Episcopal Church of the Advent. A luau will be held afterwards as Blan so loved wearing his Hawaiian shirts in otherwise serious settings.

Memorial donations can be made to Big Bend Hospice or to Rotary International's PolioPlus program.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat from Nov. 22 to Nov. 24, 2019
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