Burton L. Blanch Sr., 82, of Wilmington, passed away Tuesday, April 30, 2013, after a valiant battle with prostate cancer.
Burton was born in Mt. Carmel, Pa. and was the son of the late Gertrude (nee Lord) and George W. Blanch Sr. He attended schools in Pottsville, Pa. and always enjoyed returning for family visits and reunions.
Burt proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. After his honorable discharge, he moved his family to Claymont in 1954 and resided there for over 30 years. During those years his family grew. Burt was well known in the community. He was a Little League coach for years at Darley Road fields, and always stressed the fundamentals and a positive attitude to his players. In Claymont, Burt met Al Cartwright, a longtime News Journal sportswriter. Mr. Cartwright introduced Burt to Brandywine Raceway Publicity Director, "Colonel" Dave Herman and a 35-year bond was born. He became the assistant publicity director for the "Colonel" and later under Marv Bachrad. Burt had great people skills and enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life. He was awarded the "Good Guy" plaque from the Delaware Valley Harness Sportswriters Association. Burt enjoyed having a spot on WILM radio where he gave the results of the night's racing. He always signed off with "Good night to the gang at 122 and good night special racing fans." Burt juggled several daytime jobs in his life at Penn Fruit, the U.S. Postal Service and as a general contractor. He retired from Delmarva Power and Light where he worked for 24 years.
Burt remained active after retirement by traveling, building projects, attending antique car shows, working bingo at the veterans hospital, and volunteering for Meals on Wheels. He loved the beach, barbershop musical shows, and country music. A highlight of his life was dancing on stage with Barbara Mandrel. He was a longtime member of Elks Lodge No. 307 and served as chaplain for 23 years. He made friends easily and kept them forever.
Burt is survived by his wife of 25 years, Elsie "Skippy" Lyness and her children Candice and Steve; he is cherished by his 11 children, Kathleen Hahn (Tacker) of Rehoboth Beach, Patrick Sr. of Newark, Karleen Davis (Bob) of Wilmington, Michael (Cathy) of Claymont, Terence (Helen) of Bear, Burton Jr. (Janie) of Wilmington, Daniel (Penny) of Elkton, Md., Gregory (Heather) of Chadds Ford, Bret (Chrissy) of Newark, Brendan (Gwyn) of Claymont, and Kimberly (Phil) of Rehoboth Beach; 15 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his brother-in-law, Russell Ruch of Pottsville, Pa.; numerous nieces and nephews; faithful friends, Bob and Wilma Mullin; and his cats Smokey and Angel. He was predeceased by his brother, George, and the mother of his children, Mary.
The family would like to thank Dr. Steven Grubbs, Delaware Hospice, Christiana and Cadia for their tender care.
A viewing will be held Wednesday, May 8, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., at McCrery & Harra Funeral Homes, 3710 Kirkwood Hwy. (at Duncan Road), Wilmington, and also Thursday, May 9, from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. at the funeral home with the funeral service to follow at 11:30 a.m. Burial will be in Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name can be made to Delaware Hospice, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, DE 19963, or Elks Lodge No. 307, 1310 Carruthers Lane, Wilmington, DE 19803.