E. Frank Blair Jr., 89, passed away Saturday morning, May 28, 2011, at the VistaCare Center at Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque. Mr. Blair was being treated for cancer.
He was born Oct. 24, 1922, in Ada, Okla., and moved to Roswell when he was 4 years old. He was the only son of E. Frank Blair and Gladys Barringer Blair, whose father was a prominent rancher in Oklahoma. Frankâ€™s parents started the White House Grocery. He graduated from Roswell High School and spent two years at New Mexico Military Institute.
Frank served in the U.S. Navy Aviation Flight Training program during World War II. He and June Sorrells, a native Roswellian, were married in August 1944, in Chicago, where he was stationed at that time.
After the war, the Blairs lived in Roswell and had one son. Stephen Frank Blair, born Feb. 9, 1949, grew up in Roswell and went on to become a nuclear pharmacist at the US Naval Hospital in San Diego. Frankâ€™s son and parents preceded him in death. While living in Roswell, Frank worked for Prudential Life Insurance. He then opened the Blair Insurance Agency and eventually worked for the Sherwin Williams Co. While with Sherwin Williams, Frank was the top outside salesman in the United States. During this time, he also opened Sherwin Williamsâ€™ Las Cruces store. After the Air Force base in Roswell closed, the Blairs moved to Merced, Calif., for Juneâ€™s work as an Air Force court reporter and executive legal secretary.
Frank continued his retail sales management with Sherwin Williams as store manager in Modesto. He then enjoyed a successful career as a real estate broker in California, which he continued in Albuquerque when the Blairs returned to New Mexico. Frank was an active Mason for more than 50 years (Roswell Lodge No. 18 A.F. & A.M.) and a life member of the Ballut Abyad Shrine.
He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, hunting, and boating. The Blairs are members of St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Graveside services will be held at South Park Cemetery, at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 2, 2011. The Rev. Herb Robbins (retired from St. Paul Episcopal Church, Artesia), the Blairâ€™s nephew, will of ficiate.
Frank is survived by his wife June; nieces, Whitney Blair, Kelly Robbins, Lane Leadingham; and nephew Dr. Chris Robinson. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial donation to the Roswell Masonic Lodge Building Fund, or charity of your choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at ballardfuneralhome. com.