Clarence Richard "Dick" Blankenship
1932 - 2020
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Dick Blankenship left this world on December 20, 2020 after a long, rich life that touched and warmed many. He was born in 1932 as the third of six children, all of whom preceded him in death. The times were hard on everyone, including the Blankenships, but Dick always spoke warmly of his early years, going to beaches and dances with siblings and friends.
He proudly served in the Air Force during the Korean conflict, as a tailgunner in a B36 bomber. After military service, he took advantage of the GI bill to become the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college, with an engineering degree from Cal State LA. During those years, he met Grace Sanzo in a dance hall and persuaded her to join him on a date at the beach so he could check her out in a bathing suit. They married in 1959 and enjoyed 61 years together.
He spent his working life as an outstanding salesman in the commercial pump industry. He and Grace raised their children in Arcadia, a wonderful community, where they also enjoyed frequent outings to Santa Anita racetrack and summer vacations in Long Beach.
In 1989, they realized their dream of buying a home in Belmont Shores and enjoyed full time beach life for over 30 years. This included their OLLI "school family" of retirees attending senior classes at Long Beach State. Their home served as a gathering place for family and friends and Dick never tired of inviting grandchildren to "come to the beach house". Dick was able to renew his Burmingham Roller pigeon hobby in the last few months of his life and the birds brought him much joy.
Dick is survived by his wife Grace, son Rick and daughter, Joan, and grandchildren Charlie, Rosy, Lucy, Tony, and Miles. And Pepe, his beloved cat.

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Published in Gazette Newspapers from Jan. 21 to Jan. 29, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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12 entries
January 31, 2021
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Patti Stevens
January 29, 2021
Uncle Dick was such a jovial guy! He always knew how to make me laugh! He will be greatly missed! Sending an abundance of love and healing energy to Aunt Gracie, Joanie, Rick & Pepe
Kristie Bjorklund
Family
January 26, 2021
I was blessed to meet Dick and Grace through their son, Rick. I was a tenant at Rick’s property in Belmont Shore, his friend and also his dog, Pete’s, mom. I would go to Dick and Grace’s house often to drop off Pete after a weekend visit with me and my family. They were both so kind and loving to Pete and I am so happy I got to know them. It makes me sad to know Dick is not with us any longer, that his family and friends have to go on without him. His life was a gift to anyone who knew him and I am grateful to be one of them. I pray for Grace and her family and send my deepest condolences.
Margaret Olson
Friend
January 26, 2021
Such a great loss to the Blankenship family. My deepest condolences as you navigate during this difficult time and the giant void in your lives.
Rebecca Guzman
Acquaintance
January 26, 2021
Dick (and Grace) were loyal OLLI members who shined a light every time they arrived for a class and shared their lives with us. We'll remember Dick by seeing Gracie and knowing that they added so much to life!
R. Low
Friend
January 26, 2021
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Mel Bryant
January 23, 2021
My name is Teri Fender,My dad and your dad were friends from CSLA in the early to mid 60s. As a young girl we got together as families a couple of times. I remember you Joanie as the cutest little girl. I was older than you.
The next memory I have is your Moms Chicken Cacciatore. It was the best dinner I ever had.
I dont expect you or your brother to remember us, but possibly your mother. My family has lived here in Belmont Shore for 57 years. When we knew yor family, you were in Arcadia. My Dad was Jerry Fender and my mom was Alverna. We lost track many years ago, but somehow you all were all in my memories. Today as I read the Grunion Gazette it all connected. It seems so funny that you all moved here in the same town as us, and never crossed paths. Long Beach is a very small Town. I just wanted to share some distant memories of your Mom and Dad.
Teri Fender
Acquaintance
January 21, 2021
My father was an amazing person. He was my biggest fan, and I learned how to have fun and enjoy life from him. I also learned how to cheat at Crazy Eights from him! He was the fun in our family, the best Papa his grand kids could know (fishing, games, stories, pigeons, cars, so many wonderful memories), and a caring and special father. I am grateful to have had him for so long.
Joanie Quinn
Daughter
January 21, 2021
I will miss my Dad. He was a good man and fun to be with. He believed in me. I have so many wonderful memories and I will be forever grateful for them
Joanie Quinn
Daughter
January 21, 2021
Joanie Quinn
Daughter
January 21, 2021
I was saddened to read of Clarence's passing in the Grunion Gazette. I met Clarence and Grace in the OLLI Current Events class at Cal State Long Beach a few years ago. Clarence always greeted me with an exuberant smile and a kind word. He was a true gentleman and I will miss him when our class can meet once again on campus. My sincere condolences to Grace and the Blankenship family.
Pamela Chapin
Classmate
January 21, 2021
Dear Grace, and Family ...
I am one of the many from the Olli Family. As an observer I would always smile at the way Dick would take care ... care of each person he interacted with. Grace the two of you were such an addition to class as your kindness not only for each other but for all of us. Thank you - I always felt special have seeing you both in class. Your participation in Olli has been a gift for all of us...
Diane Paull
Classmate
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