Jack Wesley Blankenship
Jack Wesley Blankenship, AKA "Mr. habitat
," drove his last nail early in the morning of June 28th, 2021. his project complete. Dad was born to Katie Mae and Clifford Wesley Blankenship in Ardmore Oklahoma on April 8th, 1938. Jack used to say "I co-wrote the Grapes of Wrath" given the family pulled up roots in the early forties leaving the dust bowls of Texas and Oklahoma for the fertile valleys of Central California. Dad sat down with family recently to recount and record his early life of challenge and hardship. Far too often the family went without proper food, clothing, or shelter living and working off the land gleaning what they could to survive. At age fifteen, Jack announced he was "off to go find work" and jumped on a box car seeking employment. It is no wonder dad spent a life in service to others less fortunate than he had become through hard work, faith, and dedication. Jack's career began as a Psychiatric Technician at Patton State Hospital in San Bernadino. He rose through the ranks, eventually taking on executive leadership roles while continuing to mentor those around him. The family lost count years ago at the number of Jack's former staff who proclaimed him "the best boss I ever had." When illness forced him into retirement, he simply shifted into a higher gear with Habitat for Humanity
. It began with a donation made years ago by his daughter in-law to habitat
and created the monster he became! habitat
's Restore began in mom and dad's driveway as he solicited building supplies and donations, appliances, furniture, even vehicles. There was not an aspect of habitat
he did not touch. From pounding nails and enlisting volunteers, hosting golf tournaments, giving his "Habitalks, inspiring others, in 2012 Chris Smith referred to Jack as a "living legend." As busy as dad always was with career, church, coaching, counseling, even marrying close friends and family as an ordained minister, his family always came first. Dad never had a lesson plan; he was known to lead by quiet example and was simply a man you wanted to emulate. Dad would say, "Always work a little harder than everyone around you and you'll do fine." Jack's faith in his lord was unabiding. He did not fear death and would say, "I am not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens." Jack continued to touch those who cared for him during his last days, the outpouring of affection recently from those we had never met has been such a comfort. Jack is survived by the woman he met at California Baptist College, Phyllis, son Mark and wife Julie, son Mike, grandsons Brian, Christopher, and Adam, brother Ron and sisters-in-law Barbara and Kathleen, nieces, nephews. Dad was predeceased by brothers Bob and Donnie.
A life celebration is planned for Sunday, July 25th from 2 to 5 pm at Restore, "The Store that Jack Built." Ever the fundraiser, donations to habitat
in dad's honor would be greatly appreciated. A dear friend recently said, "Jack is now in heaven, fixing the gate, building an extension, and looking for ways to help others." His family has no doubt this is true. Rest well, Dad, your family and friends love and miss you.
Published by Press Democrat from Jul. 2 to Jul. 4, 2021.