We Remember

Tribute to Dr. John M. Blanche

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We are honorDr Blancheed to provide this Tribute to Dr. John M. Blanche, former Theology Professor, St Joseph College, December 18, 1929 to February 18, 2017.

Dr. John Michael Blanche, Doctorate of Sacred Theology, of Fairfield, entered into eternal rest, Saturday, Feb. 18 2017, at age 87. He died peacefully at Transitions Health Care Facility, in Gettysburg, as he was visited by various friends and family. For several years, John had been suffering with breathing problems, mostly due to complications of severe COPD.

John was born on Dec. 18, 1929 in Charleston, S.C., the son of John Matthew Blanche and Eva Holsonback Blanche, of Charleston. John attended St. Patrick's Grammar School and Bishop England High School, in Charleston, graduating with honors. He later attended St. Charles Borromeo College, in Catonsville, Md., graduating in 1950 with his BA degree, and the Gregorian University of North America in Rome, Italy, where he earned his doctorate in sacred theology in 1963. At that time, John was the first layman in the Catholic Church in America to have earned the doctorate in sacred theology. In between St. Charles Borromeo College and the Gregorian University, John served two years in the U.S. Army as a chaplin's assistant. He later used his G.I. Bill to continue his education. John was professor of theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and at St. Joseph's College in Emmitsburg, Md. After St. Joseph's College closed in 1973, John worked for many years at Musselman's Cannery and then Dal Tile, before retiring in 1999. In retirement, John spent his time enjoying the company of his pets, his books, his friends and the opera.

Anyone who knew John knew he was a sky watcher, in that he could identify and name the planets, stars and constellations in the Zodiac, and he would always comment on when the summer and winter solstices and the vernal and autumnal equinoxes would occur. He was always emailing or calling his friends, telling them when the ISS (International Space Station) could be observed in the sky, i.e., time, degree, angle, etc. John had his small plane pilot's license and truly loved flying. And, for a time, he owned and rode his horse, "Trojan 'Orse," once riding Trojan into Fairfield to deposit his paycheck, at the drive up window of his bank. John volunteered with the scouts, helping raise money for various worthy causes. And, from his time spent at university in Rome, John became a lover of opera, probably knowing more about opera that anyone. Over the years he managed to accumulate over 800 cassette tapes and over 200 LP records of just about every opera imaginable. On numerous occasions, he would organize a group of friends for a trip to the opera, sometimes the opera house in Baltimore, sometimes the Kennedy Center in Washington, or other places.

John was an avid reader and believed highly in the value and benefits of an education. This is evident in that he would never want anything to go to waste, if it could be used to help and/or educate others. In fact, he found it almost impossible to throw away books or magazines, such as National Geographic, etc., as he though some school kid might be able to learn from these things. Even in "The End" John was thinking of educating and helping others. He was an organ donor and wanted his body to be donated to science, to be used by medical students. In this way, John will be a teacher long after he's left this earthly realm.

The great love of John's life was his pets: his Horse Trojan; his dogs, Blick, Achille and Arcangelo; and his kitties, Giuseppe, Giacomo, Cupido, Valentino, Amorea, Weasel, Aida and so many others. Some of these he adopted or rescued, some were left at his door and others simply wandered into his yard, somehow knowing it was the home of an animal lover. Anyone who knew him would tell you that he'd spend his last dime and go without things for himself so he could take a sick animal to the vet and that he'd spend days and nights nursing a sick kitten back to health! He was always making donations to various charities, such as the humane society, the ASPCA, Catholic Charities, St. Jude, etc.; and, he would give financial aid to students. John will be remembered as a loyal, generous friend, never known to have an unkind word for anyone.

John was preceded in death by his father and mother, John Matthew and Eva Holsonback Blanche, and his sister Alice Galaso. John is survived by his sisters, Helen Blanche Leary of Madison, Wis., and Anne Blanche Brightwell of Stockbridge, Ga.; and by his brothers, Clifford A. Blanche of Summerville, S.C., and Alan F. Blanche, of North Charleston, S.C. John will be remembered and missed by his dear friends of many years, among them Jozef Antolin of Santa Clara, Calif.; his neighbors, John and Susan Strahler of Fairfield, Matthew Wentz of Orrtanna, Dr. Mary Baskerville of Gettysburg, Deb Gemmell of Gettysburg, Sherrie DeMartino of Fairfield, and many other dear friends too numerous to mention.
John's family and friends would like to thank the staff and care givers of Transitions Health Care Facility in Gettysburg for the care, kindness and love they showed John. John's ashes will be buried at a later date in Charleston, S.C., next to his mother and father. John had requested in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in his name to the Adams County SPCA or the Adams County Library, in Fairfield.

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