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In Memoriam: Ron Blake

Updated: Mar 22



Ronald Edmund Blake (84) of East Hartford, Connecticut, passed away suddenly, on March 5th, 2024, in Greenville, South Carolina.  He was with his wife Sharon and daughters Becky and Laura when he came to the end of his trail.  


Ron was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 8, 1939 to Nellie Martha (Drew) Blake and Wallace Dale Blake.   He spoke often and fondly of childhood stories from his hometown of East Hartford, Connecticut. These childhood tales always included his older brother, Dale Glendon Blake and his younger sister, Margo Elaine (Blake) Kamerer, as well as many neighborhood friends and their spirited childhood adventures in the woods and sandlots of Mayberry Village. 




In 1962, Ron was convinced by his brother Dale to make a static-line parachute jump at Orange Sport Parachute Center in Orange, MA. He continued parachuting until 1973, making a total of 478 jumps.  Additionally, he served as President of Connecticut Parachutists Inc. (CPI), earned Expert Level jumping status, Jumpmaster and Instructor Ratings.


On one parachuting trip to Orange, Massachusetts, he met his wife -to -be, Sharon Jean Babel, and they were married in Orange on May 6, 1967.  They called many places home, including East Hartford, Bolton, Manchester and Tolland Connecticut, and Greenville South Carolina.  Ron and Sharon had two daughters,  Rebecca Elizabeth Blake (Chill)  and Laura Ellen Blake. 


Ron’s first professional job was as a land-survey crew member and later a cartographer for the Metropolitan District Commission in Hartford, Connecticut.   During this time he joined the Connecticut Army National Guard, serving for 6 years in various locations including Camp Drum, Fort Meade, and Fort Dix.  His final rank was Sergeant E-5.  He later became an Assistant Town Planner in Manchester before becoming the eventual Director of Planning and Development in his 27 year tenure in the Town of Tolland, Connecticut.  His professional career included memberships in the American Planning Association, and the Connecticut Association of Planning Officials (CAZEO). 


Ron’s education included earning an Associate’s Degree in Public Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Social Sciences.  In 1994, he graduated with honors from Eastern Connecticut State University with Sharon, the first married couple to graduate together. 


Adventures were a common theme in Ron’s life, and many of you reading this can likely name an adventure you had with Ron.  Some of his adventures included triathlons, rock climbing, canoe racing with the Willimantic River Yacht Club (WRYC), long distance cycling including RAGBRAI, a 500 mile bike ride across Iowa with daughter Laura.   Other sports from past and present include duckpin bowling, racquetball, tennis, squash, cross country and down-hill skiing and softball.  Some of Ron’s lifetime of hobbies included drawing, reading, building Adirondack chairs, geocaching, and HAM radio operation.  


In 2001 Ron retired from the Town of Tolland and settled in Greenville, South Carolina, where the weather allowed him to continue his active and energetic lifestyle. Ron hiked thousands of miles with  friends and fellow hikers in the Greenville Natural History Association Hiking Club. He was an 18 year member of GNHC Hiking Club and was always sharing stories and photos of his river crossings, bear encounters and other hiking adventures.  He served on the Board as well as in a  co-Presidency role with wife Sharon. In Greenville,  Ron and Sharon and friends introduced the sport of Pickleball to the community, where he was affectionately known as Spike. 


Ron’s greatest gifts were his positivity, curiosity, integrity, work ethic, kindness, his Yankee thrift and ingenuity.  He was a great man and an incredible husband and father.   He was always on a mission of self-improvement and had a strong sense of civic responsibility.  He donated blood, platelets regularly. He recycled and picked up trash at his local park. Ron always left places better than he found them.  


Celebration of Life


A celebration of life will take place Sunday, April 7 from 12-3 p.m. at the home of Ron and Sharon Blake: 306 Ivy Stone Dr. Greenville, SC 29605


Donations

The Greenville Natural History Association will establish a memorial bench to honor Ron. Please share your donation through our website.


Donations in Ron’s memory can be made to Hellie’s Alma Mater, the Upstate Animal Rescue Foundation of South Carolina.   PO Box 195, Townville, SC 29689 or Payment to Paypal (payable to uarsc@yahoo.com) or Donate at any Bank of America


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