QUINCY - Douglas Peter Blair, 82, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, March 10, 2017.
He was born June 10, 1934, in Corning, N.Y., to George Elmer Blair and Alice Bernice (Salls) Blair Clow, both also natives of New York state. Soon after, the family moved to Quincy, and Doug would live the rest of his life in Illinois except for his two-year stint in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.
He was the beloved husband of Martha Ann Blair, until her passing in 2012, just short of their 56th wedding anniversary. Loving father of Roger Blair and his wife, Fran, of Texas, John Blair and his wife, Karen, of Illinois, and Steve Blair and his wife, Teresa, of Maryland. Grandfather of Lacey Swain, Joshua Blair, Kyle Blair, Tara Blair and Meghan Blair. Brother of Daniel Blair of Maryland; Donald Blair, Betty Hay, Thomas Blair and Robert Blair, all of Illinois. He was also particularly thankful for the friendship of his "work family" at the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB). He was predeceased by his parents, Elmer and Alice, as well as his brother, Richard Blair of California.
Doug learned responsibility and a strong work ethic early in life as the oldest sibling in a single-parent family; holding down numerous part-time jobs while attending Quincy High School and also achieving notable success in sports with a second-place finish at the state wrestling tournament and earning a football scholarship to attend Illinois State University.
After a football career-ending injury his freshman year, Doug enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served two years while achieving the rank of sergeant. He then took advantage of the GI Bill to re-enroll at Illinois State, where he met his lifelong love and companion, Martha Ann Glisson (soon to be Blair). Doug began teaching at Downs Elementary after just two years of college but ultimately earned his bachelor's, masters and doctorate of education from Illinois State on a part-time basis while he worked full time as an educator and, with Martha, raised a family.
Doug worked as an educator for over 55 years in roles as varying as teacher, coach, principal, superintendent and then for the second half of his career as a director of field services for the IASB.
He held a term as mayor of Downs but had to step down when he moved to Atlanta, Ill., in 1965, where he was instrumental in forming the Olympia School District, which became the largest geographic size of any school district in the state.
As superintendent of the Olympia district he was the driving force behind the development of Olympia High School (1972), which took students of eight small towns and gave them an opportunity to attend a larger high school. The resources available at Olympia High School exposed students to a college prep curriculum for the first time in their history. He was a strong supporter and proponent of public education his whole adult life.
SERVICES: 4 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at Staab Funeral Home with Pastor Nicole Cox conducting.
VISITATION: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 1, at the funeral home.
MEMORIALS: Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
ARRANGEMENTS: Staab Funeral Home, 1109 S. Fifth St., Springfield, IL 62703.
Condolences may be expressed online at whig.com.
Published by Herald-Whig from Mar. 26 to Mar. 28, 2017.