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.
Published in Gazette Newspapers from Jan. 21 to Jan. 29, 2021.