Stillwater News Press


July 4, 2012

Joe Blair

Joe Blair was born on Jan. 1, 1931, in Fairview. He is the youngest son of Hiram O. Blair and Fern Thompson Blair.

He was a very determined youngster, and got his first job at age 10, working in the local I.G.A. grocery store. He also worked summers for wheat harvest at the local farms. Upon graduation from high school he moved to Stillwater where he began working full time for Marvin’s Grocery Store.

 He married Marie Strode from Stillwater and they lived in Stillwater for a year. Following the birth of their daughter, they moved to Alva where Joe worked for Blakemore Foods. He transferred to the Enid store as assistant manager, after which he was transferred to Cherokee to become manager of the Cherokee Blakemore Grocery. He was the youngest manager that they had ever hired.

 After a year, the family returned to Stillwater so Joe could attend college and Marie finish her senior year at Oklahoma A&M. Their son, Roger, was born that winter.  

He graduated from Oklahoma State University in three years with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, and got a job managing the food service at Bennett dining hall. He soon became director of University Food Services, a position he held for more than 30 years. Upon his retirement Blair Dining Hall at Bennett Hall was named in his honor.

 He was active in many Masonic organizations. He was a past master of Frontier Masonic Lodge in Stillwater, a member of the York Rite Masons of Stillwater, Scottish Rite of Tulsa, and a member of India Temple in Oklahoma City.

He was very active in the Order of the Eastern Star. He was a past patron of the Stillwater chapter, past grand patron of the state of Oklahoma, had the honor of serving on the General Grand Chapter Jurisprudence Committee for three years. He has held a Grand Chapter appointment for the past 47 years.

He served as DeMolay Dad in Stillwater for several years, and was a recipient of the Legion of Honor.

He served for many years on the Stillwater Rainbow Advisory Board, serving many times as Rainbow Dad. He was a past State Rainbow Dad and a recipient of the Grand Cross of Color. He was elected to the Supreme Assembly, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls (one of a maximum for 50 members) a position he has held for 34 years. He is a past Supreme Inspector of Oklahoma. He held the positions of Supreme Treasurer for 10 years, and Supreme Parliamentarian for eight years.

He is a past President of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, and served on the Board of Directors for more than 20 years.

Gov. George Nigh ordered him to go to McAlester to feed the prisoners during the summer riot during Nigh’s term.

President Richared Nixon included him in his selection of members for a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition held in Washington D. C.

Joe was very active in his professional organization, National Association of College and University Food Services. He served as regional president, national secretary/treasurer, national program director twice, and national president. He was honored to receive a lifetime membership in NACUFS for his achievements. He was also the recipient of the Ted Minor in recognition of the Oklahoma State Food Service as the winner that year.

He was a recipient of the “Silver Plate” award, listing him as the outstanding Food Service Director in the United States and Canada for that year. He also was awarded a doctorate of Food Service by the National Association of Food Equipment. When lecturing in Kentucky, the governor awarded him the title of “Kentucky Colonel”.

He is a past president of the Stillwater Kiwanis of America and a past regional governor who devoted much time and effort for the betterment of the community. He is listed in Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans for his community efforts.

He was predeceased by his parents, Hiram and Fern Blair; brothers, Bill Blair, and his wife, Frances; Bob Blair; sister, Bonnie Boechman, and her husband, James; father-in-law, Virgil Strode; mother-in-law, Ella Strode; brothers-in-law, Virgil Strode, Jr., and Dr. Jack Strode.

Survivors include his wife, Marie of the home; daughter, Beth Crump and her husband, Ron, Maramec; son, Roger and his wife, Ruth, Walla Walla, Wash.; grandchildren, Jason Stone and his wife, Kellie, Catoosa, Scott Stone and his wife, Kathleen, Abilene, Texas, Deborah Blair, Portland, Ore., Cathleen Blair, Madison, Wisc., Brian Stone and his wife, Kelly, Portland, Maine; great-grandchildren, Titan Stone, Taylor Stone, Sam Stone, Elis Stone, Wyatt Stone, and Levi Stone; sister, Patta Reed and her husband, Ed, Grand Junction, Colo., sister-in-law, Emmelee Strode, Tulsa, and special friends, Judy and Rowland Quisenberry, Stillwater, Gary Crump, Maramec, and Steve and Susan Tucker, Little Rock, Ark.

Joe enjoyed his retirement years on the ranch near Pawnee where he raised Limousin Cattle.He took great pride in improving his land and was awarded by the Pawnee County Conservation District for his ability to improve his pastures in 1982 and 2010.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m., Friday, July 6, 2012, at the First Christian Church, Pawnee, with Rev. Tom Scott officiating, under the direction of Poteet Funeral Home, Pawnee.

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