John Calvin "Nuke" Blankenship

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  • "May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow."
  • "I cut John's hair the whole time he and Irene were..."
    - Cece Wanke
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August 25, 1919~November 20, 2010

John "Nuke" Calvin Blankenship, 91, of Vancouver, WA, passed away November 20th, 2010 at the home of his son in Reedsport, OR.

John was born in Spencerville, OK, the fifth of 7 children born to William Oscar and Ida Isabelle (Bicknell) Blankenship. He moved west to Oregon as a young teenager and worked in the agricultural fields and turkey farms of the Willamette Valley. It was there that he met his future wife, Lillian Christensen, while she was attending high school in Aumsville, Oregon. He married Lillian on July 26, 1941 while working for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, WA. Soon thereafter they moved back to the Portland-Vancouver area where both worked in the shipyards, building ships in support of WWII.

He joined the Army on June 8, 1944 and departed for the Asiatic Pacific on New Years Eve 1944. He served as an infantryman and participated in two World War II battles: Bismarck Archipelago and Luzon. Decorations and citations he received included: the Philippine Liberation Medal with one Bronze Service Star, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Good conduct Medal, and Victory Medal. After leaving the Army, he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Oregon Cascades; fighting fires and building fire and hiking trails, campgrounds, etc.

Around 1946, he became an apprentice meat cutter at "Junors Market" then located at 26th and Main in downtown Vancouver, and continued to work as a meat cutter for some 40 years for local stores such as Keils, Safeway and Fred Meyers. Retired for more than 28 years, John enjoyed family events, caring for his home, gardening, traveling, woodworking and golf. He lived a long, wonderful life.

He was preceded in death by his son, Dennis Blankenship, in December of 1998; and by his wife of 58 years, Lillian Mildred (Christensen) Blankenship, in April of 1999.

He is survived by his brothers, William Oscar Blankenship Jr. of McMinnville, OR, Truman E. Blankenship of Chiloquin, OR; his companion of 10 years, Irene Shropshire of Vancouver, WA; his son, Byron Blankenship of Reedsport, OR; six grandchildren and six great -grandchildren.

John's memorial service will be at Evergreen Memorial Gardens, 1101 NE 112th Ave., Vancouver, WA, at 12:30 on November 28, 2010, with a short reception following in the Evergreen Memorial Gardens hospitality room. More details are available at

It is requested that memorial contributions be made to those who took such good care of John in his final days: Pacific Home Health & Hospice, at 455 South 4th Street, Suite 3, Coos Bay, OR, 97420, and that donations be noted 'for the Reedsport area hospice'.
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Funeral Home
Evergreen Memorial Gardens Funeral Chapel
1101 NE 112th Avenue
Vancouver, WA 98684
(360) 892-6060
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Published in The Columbian on Nov. 23, 2010