Del Blanchard, age 88, of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, passed away at home March 19, 2017, with family by his side. He survived many years with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
He was born in Sheridan, OR, on April 3, 1928, to Nercissa and Lloyd Blanchard. He grew up with four sisters in Sheridan and Willamina. Del spent his childhood attending a one-room school and helping his father farming.
Del was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Roberta Koivu of Willamina, and Harriet Gillentine of Honolulu. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Tec Blanchard; and sisters, Wanda Burk of Riddle and Retha Favor of Centralia, Washington.
Del graduated from Willamina High School a year early. At the age of 17 he enlisted in the US Navy. He served aboard three submarines at the end of World War II, stationed in Turkey. He was standing wheel-watch as the USS Boarfish became the first submarine to transit under the Polar Ice Cap. After his four years of naval service, Del graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor’s degree. He retired from the Naval Reserve as a Chief Petty Officer at age 57, with 20 years combined service to our nation.
Delbert and Charlotte (Johnson) of Silverton married on November 3, 1950. They moved to Myrtle Creek in 1953. They were together 37 years and raised their four children: Bradley Blanchard (Olivia), Panama, Connie Earwood (Don), Beaverton, Delbert E. Blanchard (Angela), West Linn, and Wanda VanEpps (Tom), Myrtle Creek. He has nine grandchildren, Amanda and Andrea (Connie), Sarah and Matthew (Brad), Erik, Stephanie and Kristopher (Delbert), Kristin and Cody (Wanda); 14 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson.
On August 28, 1990, Del married Evelyn Tec from (PHD) the Philippines. She said "Del is a very good husband for he supported her through good and bad times. Be it in her career move or any other personal and professional decisions." She described him as an honest, responsible, and thoughtful husband. She was by his side for nearly 27 years, respecting and loving him until the end.
Del was best known as a local businessman, rancher, metal shop owner and community volunteer. In his lifetime he owned and started over 20 different business endeavors, including a cabinet shop, Del’s Building Supply in Tri-City, real estate developing and home building. Also in Tri-City, he helped build and was an original part-owner of the Nickel Bowl, built a Go-Kart racing track near the high school, and participated in Lions Club activities. The South Jetty in Bandon was also partially developed by Del, where he built several cabins and many family memories there.
In 1971, he started ranching on South Myrtle, and three other ranches, primarily raising cattle and hay. He began building Umpqua Wood Stoves, Oregon Metalcraft horse and stock trailers and utility truck bodies. He was involved in raising, training and showing mules with his youngest children. Del was responsible for bringing the Oregon Mr. Longears Show to Roseburg and enjoyed the frequent trail rides, friends, parades and events.
Serving on the Umpqua Community College Board of Trustees for 32 years, he represented the citizens of Douglas County with enthusiasm. The Administration Building was renamed the ‘Del Blanchard Welcome Center” in 2014. He and Evelyn also set up the “Del and Evelyn Blanchard Endowment Fund” for GED students and “Del Blanchard Family Endowment” to benefit veterans reentering the workforce.
Del was an original member of the Umpqua Youth, Inc./Wixson Family Scholarship board (Myrtle Creek), and served for 44 years until his death. He was a driving force in organizing this committee, helping hundreds of local students afford higher education or training in Oregon.
He was active in Douglas County Scottish Society and recently the Rogue-Umpqua Base of US Submarine Veterans. He was also a member of Tri-City Presbyterian Church where he served as an Elder.
Del traveled to the Philippines numerous times with Evelyn and started a casket manufacturing business and CJ3A Stainless Jeep reproductions. The last project he was passionate about was planting seven acres of blueberries around his home on South Myrtle, known as DelEv Blueberry Patch. He was pleased to make his favorite blueberries locally available.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, April 1, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., Tri City Presbyterian Church, Myrtle Creek, Oregon, with a lunch reception to follow.