John Metcalfe Blair, Sr.

John M. “Jack” Blair was born on September 28, 1930 in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania to Ruth Metcalfe Blair and John W. Blair. After suffering many medical complications, Jack passed away on July 2, 2017 in St. Louis, MO. He is predeceased by his mother, father, and older sister (Jean Blair), who died in infancy. Jack grew up in Quincy, Pennsylvania, raised by his mother and neighboring aunt (Mary Metcalfe). He attended Quincy High School and graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy in 1949. On September 12, 1953, Jack married his high school sweetheart, Joanne Aughanbaugh.

At age 17, Jack enlisted in the Army National Guard. During the outbreak of the Korean War, his unit was federalized. He was then selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS) and commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1951. He first served as a field artillery officer and later as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. During the Vietnam War, he was the commanding officer of a Huey helicopter gunship battalion with the First Air Cavalry. He was heavily decorated during his 26 years of service, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and two Purple Hearts. Jack retired from the Army as a Colonel in 1974, beginning a second career as a guidance counselor in Alaska for the Anchorage School District. Jack spent several summers flying helicopters for the Alyeska Pipeline and US Forestry Service. He also pursued a third career as residential real estate agent until his final retirement in 2001.

Jack earned a BS in Biology from St. Benedict’s College (Leavenworth, KS), a MEd from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA), and a PhD in Leadership and Human Behavior from USIU (San Diego, CA).

In 2011, Jack and Joanne relocated to Glen Carbon, Illinois due to medical and other reasons, living only a short distance from their younger son, Douglas, and his family.

Jack enjoyed many things in life, most notably the outdoors. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. Any opportunity he had, he would be flying his floatplane out to remote fishing spots in hope of landing his next big trophy. He always said that one of the saddest days in his life was the day he sold his plane.

Jack will be remembered fondly and lovingly by his friends, family, and acquaintances for his optimistic outlook on life and never-ending sense of humor, which undoubtedly helped carry him through the many challenges he experienced during his event-filled life. But most of all, Jack Blair will be remembered as an outstanding and exemplary husband, father, and grandfather. Jack is survived by his wife (Joanne), two sons (John, Jr./wife Chiara and Douglas/wife Sherry), and grandchildren (John: Patrick, Scott, Ian, Carys, Cailyn, and Jaeger; Douglas: Jack and Natalie).

A graveside ceremony with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Daedalian Foundation, which provides scholarships and other financial assistance to students wishing to pursue careers as military aviators. Donations may be made online at www.daedalians.org.

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