OSKALOOSA — William “Bill” Blake, 83, of Oskaloosa and formerly of Ollie, went to be with his Savior, Jesus, on Tuesday evening, Feb. 11, 2014, at the MHP Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa.
William Lewis Blake was born, Feb. 9, 1931, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids to Carl Owen and Ruth (Lewis) Blake. He lived a short time in California before the family moved back to Cedar Rapids. His family then moved to Ollie in 1945, where he lived most of his life. He attended Ollie High School and was the starting baseball pitcher for the Ollie Dream Team in 1948. While in high school, he worked at his father’s filling station and as a farm hand during the summers. He graduated from Ollie High School in 1949.
Bill married the love of his life, Helen Jean Winn, March 4, 1950, in Ollie. She preceded him in death, Oct. 25, 2003. Together they farmed southwest of Ollie. While farming he also worked various jobs, including: Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids, Packwood Elevator, Morrell’s in Ottumwa, as a farm hand and as a carpenter. He was employed full time by Kaiser Corp. in 1954 and then with Martin Marietta as an aggregate inspector until his retirement in 1996 with 42 years of service. After retiring, he returned to work for Winn Corp. in 1997, running a loader and driving a gravel truck until his second retirement in 2008 with 11 years of service. Bill was a 50 plus year member of the Masonic Lodge No. 230 in Ollie.
He greatly enjoyed golfing, camping, traveling, riding his bicycle, driving the gravel truck, playing practical jokes, life, laughing, and his family and many friends. Bill always had a smile for everyone.
His family includes three daughters: Nancy and Steve Connelly, Cindy and Gary Van Dyke, both of Ollie, and Kelly and Kendall Gibbs, of Ottumwa, a son, Bill and Jean Blake, of Oskaloosa; six grandchildren: Jamie Connelly (Tim) Prangler, of Indianola, Stevie Connelly (Derrick) Thomas, of Packwood, Bethany Blake (Tim) Hadley, of Ollie, Billy R. (Ariann), of Oskaloosa, and Kurtis (Kelsey) Gibbs, of Ottumwa; nine great-grandchildren: T.J. and Ryan Prangler, Drake, Damian and Dante Thomas, Selah and Isaiah Hadley, Emerson Lee Blake and Erica Clubb Gibbs; a sister, Betty Hammill Tripplett, of Whitefish, Mont.; many nieces and nephews; and many many friends.
In addition to his parents and his wife Helen of 53 years, Bill was preceded in death by a brother, Raymond Blake; a nephew, Dennis Hammill; and a very special friend, Jack Abel, who was like a son to him.
Following cremation, a Celebration of Life Service and light lunch will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Ollie Baptist Church with Pastor Tim Hadley of the Richland Friends Church and Pastor Carla Nelson of the Ollie Baptist Church officiating. Private burial will be held at a later date at Ollie Cemetery. No visitation is planned and Garland-Van Arkel-Langkamp Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa is handling the arrangements. As was his wish, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Ollie Baptist Church, Maple Ridge Assisted Living in Oskaloosa or the MHP Hospice Serenity House in Oskaloosa. Memories and condolences may be sent by visiting gvlfuneralchapel.com.