Richard “Dick” Blake, 91, of Bridgman passed away peacefully on November 30, 2021.
Dick was born in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota on March 7, 1930 to Paul and Marion Blake. He was the second oldest of eight children and watched out for his younger siblings. He graduated from St. Louis Park high school and after a year at Bethel College in St. Paul and another year or two at Winona State Teacher’s College he joined the Navy and served 4 years. Part of that time he was stationed on Midway Island in the Pacific. Contact with the Navigators kept him on track spiritually and increased his interest in missions. His last assignment with the Navy was in the San Francisco Bay area. While there he was active in Youth for Christ. He met Thelma at one of the meetings. After he finished his service with the Navy he stayed in San Francisco and married Thelma. He went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Accounting from Armstrong College in Berkley, California. Later he went on to earn a master’s degree in Christian Education as well as Doctor of Ministry Degree in Religious Education from Golden State School of Theology in Oakland, California.
Dick and Thelma had four boys, Richard (Rick), Kenneth, James and Robert. Dick supported the boys in all their pursuits whether it was pigeons, sports or music. He personally loved gardening but in the midst of the plants in his back yard there were pigeon cages and a basketball hoop. He organized the boys in their chores and loved to play table games with the family. He cooked and entertained many guests, including foreign students.
He was regional controller with Boise Cascade Building Company, and Case Power and Equipment, in the San Francisco Bay area. He has also owned and operated several Christian book stores.
Richard was a strong advocate for Christian family life and service in the church. He served on the staff and board of his church and Follow Up Supply Prison Ministries. He wrote a column for Restorative Justice News. He wanted to be a missionary but only did one brief term of service to help with an audit. However, he supported, prayed for and encouraged many missionaries including his sister Edna and brother John.
Richard was married to Thelma for 65 years. In 1994 they began a 24-year journey with Alzheimer’s. In 2008 he resigned his job and became Thelma’s full-time caregiver and in 2009 moved from the congestion of the Bay Area to the city of Bridgman in Southwest Michigan. He volunteered with the Alzheimer’s Association® as a local Caregivers Support Group Co-facilitator. He wrote their story in Our Journey with Alzheimer’s; Sixty-Five Years of Love and Commitment.
Dick was preceded in death, by his parents Paul and Marion Blake, five of his siblings, Clyde Blake, John Blake, Joan Arneson, Larry Blake and Lois Blake, his wife Thelma, and their son Kenneth, and grandson Kenny.
He is survived by his three sons and their wives, Rick and Holly Blake; Jim and Irma Blake; Robert and Leslie Blake; 10 grandchildren, Jada McNabb, Ryan Blake, Chelsey Fonua, , Shannin Vanderark, Jamen Blake, Jocelyn Ahnstrom, Mary Ingalls, John Blake, Ellen Blake, and Merideth Blake, 15 great grandchildren, his brother Dennis Blake, Lynda, and sister Edna Headland, Paul, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
He loved and was loved by many and will be dearly missed.
Arrangements are entrusted to Pike Funeral and Cremation Services, 9191 Red Arrow Hwy, Bridgman.