He was born in Memphis, Tenn. on Dec. 12, 1921 and moved to the Minneapolis area when he was 12 years old, where his father found work. He was graduated from Central High and soon after volunteered to join the Army Air Corps to help win WWII. He spent several months as a flight instructor before serving his tour fighting in a P-38 in the Pacific over Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. He then volunteered and flew over Germany. He was shot down and captured on Dec. 27, 1944 during the battle of the Bulge and released by the Russians on May 1, 1945. He spent five years in civilian life before volunteering again for the Korean conflict. He then graduated to an F-86 fighter plane.
He married Donna Blakeney (Maxwell) in June of 1944 and in the ensuing years he and Donna with their two daughters moved around the United States, Okinawa and Taiwan. In 1965 he again volunteered for Vietnam where he flew F-100’s. After the conflict he was transferred to the Pentagon where he retired in 1968 stating that “you just couldn’t get that desk off the ground.” They moved to Miami Springs, Fla. where they lived until 2003. With Donna’s health problems they moved back Minnesota and settled in Isanti with family.
During his career he earned numerous awards including the Distinguished Flying Cross 17 times, the last time in Vietnam, when after dropping his mission load of bombs, he flew back and forth strafing the Vietcong to protect our ground troops.
Blake loved handball, golfing (handicap 3), deep-sea fishing, working in his shop, playing cards and entertaining with Donna. They had friends all over the world. They traveled often to see friends, and Blake acquired a ‘taxi hat’ that he wore when picking up their friends from the airport to stay with them.
Blake was preceded in death by his wife, Donna and one infant daughter, Amy. He is survived by his daughters Debbie (Bob) Cox of Brenham, Texas, Sue Ann (Phil) Muller of Isanti; grandsons Bradford Schiller and Blake Schiller; great grandson Andrew (Kristen) Ross; great granddaughter Jessica Schiller and many, many extended family and friends.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct. 29 at 11 a.m. at South Isanti Baptist Church with Rev. Robert Venneman officiating. Ann Venneman, accompanied by Katy Gleason, will provide the special music. Military Honors will be provided by the Minnesota Patriot Guard and the Isanti VFW.
Arrangements are with Carlson-Lillemoen Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Cambridge.