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Donald Irving Blanke passed away Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Meeker, Colo.
Don was born March 12, 1934, in Grand Junction, Colo., the youngest of three children.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Gladys and Irving, and his two sisters, Phyllis and Mildred.
Don attended Grand Junction High School and was graduated in 1952. Following high school, he went on to earn his associate’s degree in science at Mesa Junior College and he completed a year at the University of Colorado before being drafted into the United States Army in 1956.
Don spent the next two years in Korea, was honorably discharged, then returned to Colorado to further his education at Western State College (Harvard of the West), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1960.
He then went on to work for the United States Atomic Energy Commission. It is there that he met his wife of 53 years, Bernice Coffman.
Don returned to Western State College and earned a master’s degree in school administration in 1964. During this time, his eldest son, Scott James, arrived.
He thoroughly enjoyed his time in Gunnison and could often be found fly fishing on the Taylor River or at Monarch Pass as a member of the ski patrol.
In 1964, Don and Bee moved to the San Luis Valley, where Don taught science for a year before accepting a teaching position at Meeker High School. In 1966, their second son, Eric Charles, arrived.
While working within the Meeker School District, Don held many positions. He taught chemistry, physics, math and was the high school counselor. In addition to his teaching and counseling, he also coached high school track, cross-country and was a ski instructor for the Meeker School District. Because of his love for skiing and wanting the children of Meeker to have the opportunity to learn, he created what is locally know as Mt. Blanke.
After retiring in 1994, Don and Bee had the opportunity to travel extensively, with Costa Rica being his favorite.
Don will be remembered for hi compassion for peple, his sense of humor and love for his family.
Don is survived by: his wife, Bee; his two sons, Scott (Kella) of Lolo, Mont., and Eric (Shannon) of Parker, Colo.; and his grandchildren, Tell, Sarah, Charlie and Ryan.