Charles J. Blanchard, age 88 years.
Passed away quietly at home, Tuesday April 21st, 2020 from pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by his loving wife and family. Charles was born January 12th, 1932 to Charles & Ethyl Blanchard of Oshkosh WI. In 1950 he graduated from Crystal Lake High School in Illinois. He was the first athlete to letter in 4 major sports. He attended Beloit College where he met his wife Lucy Ann Wilburn. They eloped October 22nd, 1953. Their college education was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. After his service, the couple returned to college and graduated in 1956.
Charles spent 5 years with Fairbanks Morse in Beloit, WI and 2 years at Babcock/Wilcox in Milwaukee, WI (both manufactured power generators). He was then hired as Director of Training with National Metal Trades Assn. (NMTA) in Chicago, Il.; Ultimately becoming its CEO. The NMTA “morphed” into Mgmt. Assn. of Illinois. Charles enrolled in a 7-year summer program of Assoc. Mgmt. at Notre Dame where he earning his Certified Assn. Executive degree. He was also the CEO of National/International Belting Association from 1994-1999. Charles served on the Westlake Hospital Board in Illinois. He was the first “non-medical” person to serve. In addition, he was also on the Metropolitan Chicago Hospital Board for two years.
Chuck had never traveled anywhere outside Wisconsin or Illinois as a child. He gave his children a childhood filled with traveling wonders around the United States, Canada, and beyond. The family camped once the youngest child was old enough to travel. The older children learned to set up camp, while Mary (6), helped with Stuart (6 months).
One year he took them to Yellowstone to camp only to find out it snowed one day. He re-routed the family to New Mexico to visit Ann’s cousin who was a caretaker for an Indian historical site. They were given access to cultural history as well as entering a kiva. Another memorable trip left them stranded with a flat tire at night in another Indian reservation in Montana, where they all were enthralled by the beauty of the Aurora Borealis. They went to the Florida Keys one year for Christmas and camped in a tent. The children explored the wonders of sea life and collecting shells. They followed the historical trail to the U.P. of Michigan to Mackinac Island. Each trip was plotted on a large map of the U.S. with different colored pins. The memories of all the travels together fill books with pictures. A legacy they have from their father. He supported them in all of their activities for example: swimming, football, and others while promoting a strong work ethic in all of his children.
Chuck loved ALL sports, but football was his favorite. He favored all Illinois sports especially the Bears, Cubs, and the Bulls. He loved golf as well. Another activity he was involved in was hunting pheasant in Illinois and South Dakota and geese in Wisconsin.
In 1976 they built their home in Port Washington, Chuck continued commuting to Chicago until 1994 returning home on the weekends to Port. He enjoyed telling people “that’s what has kept our marriage fresh. “The Blanchard’s were avid antique dealers and had a lot of fun building their business together. Chuck and Ann spent weekends going to farm auctions and refinishing furniture together. They spent 35 years traveling to various antique shows in the U.S. where they set up a booth for resale.
Chuck and Ann enjoyed traveling; a cruise to South America, two trips to New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Spain, and Alaska. They spent many sailing trips with the Wilburn family in the Caribbean. In later years, they spent their winters in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Ft. Myers, FL to break from the harsh cold winters of Wisconsin.
On October 22nd, 2019, they celebrated 66 years of marriage.
Chuck was preceded in death by his Parents Charles H. and Ethyl R. Blanchard. Sisters: Betty (Jack) Bahr and Jeanne (Walt) Goff. Brother: John F. Blanchard. Grandson: John L. Kist. Mother and Father-in law, Marion and Bryan Wilburn. Brother-in-law; Brian Wilburn. Various nieces and nephews.
Chuck is survived by his wife Lucy A. (Wilburn) Blanchard. Five children: Rebecca Herro, Scott (Lori) Blanchard, Sandra (Larry) Burmesch, Mary (Tim) Witeus and Stuart Blanchard. He is also survived by grandchildren: Tracy Trolio, Terrah Soto, Monica Trolio, Jenny (Jeremy) Peirsol, Katelyn Blanchard (Scott), Amy Blanchard (Zach), Nick Howell, Alex Howell, Brielle and Reese Blanchard. Great grandchildren: Hannah and Ellie Soto, Ashlynn and Chloe Peirsol, and Aiden Chrzandowski. Brother-in-law: Bruce Wilburn (Karen). Sister-in-laws: Dottie Blanchard, Linda Wilburn. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
We would like to extend our thanks to the staff at the Aurora Cancer Center, Dr. Torkleson and Dr. Fitzsimmons. A special thank you to the Aurora Metro Hospice team. You are amazing.
In lieu of a funeral, we will be having a gathering in the summer for friends, family, and neighbors. God willing. We would ask that donations be sent to the Aurora Metro Home Hospice Milwaukee Metro Division, 1155 N. Honeycreek Parkway, Wauwatosa, WI 53213.