John Blair

Black Diamond resident John Bennington “Ben” Blair Jr. died Oct. 8, 2011, at his Lake Sawyer home. He was 87.

He was born Jan. 27, 1924, in Tacoma to Jack and Gladys Blair. He spent his childhood in Tacoma and on Vashon Island. He excelled in pole vaulting and high jump, qualifying for state, before graduating from Stadium High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943, serving as a corpsman attached to the Marines. He was part of the operation to liberate Peleliu, in the South Pacific and part of a liberation force in China.

He graduated from Washington State College in business and economics. During his time at WSC he met and married Elaine Bellingar. Following graduation he was called up again for the Korean conflict and served at the hospital at Pier 91 in Seattle.

He bought Gateway Feed Co. and moved his family to Enumclaw in 1958. He served the community as a member of the Enumclaw Memorial Hospital board and was on the board of Cascade Community Bank and on the King County Fair board.

He is survived by children John Blair and Connie Schaafsma, their spouses, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Elaine.

A funeral service is planned for 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at Wabash Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Rainier Hills Young Life or the Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation.

Services were by Weeks’ Enumclaw Funeral Home. All are invited to sign the online guest book at

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