Charles Morris Blanchard was born Aug. 1, 1934, in Mason City, Iowa, to Morris Charles Blanchard, who was an auto mechanic, and Pearl Inez Auen. He had a half-brother, Monte Merle Auen, born in 1933—Pearl’s son from a previous marriage.
In 1940, the Blanchards lived in Clear Lake, Iowa, and Pearl and Morris divorced in 1945. Charles later gained two half-sisters and a half-brother after his mother married Van E. Figgins in 1946.
On Aug. 14, 1950, in the early days of the Korean War, Blanchard’s half-brother Monte was killed fighting with the 24th Infantry Division during the Battle of Naktong Bridge. Monte was 17 years old at the time of his death and had only been in the Army for three months.
Blanchard was enraged and enlisted in the Marine Corps on Aug. 13, 1951. He was assigned to the 1st Amphibian Tractor (Amtrac) Battalion. He saw a little action while in Korea but was an Amtrac mechanic and helped with some prisoner swaps. After attaining the rank of sergeant, he was released from active duty and transferred to the 9th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District in Chicago on Aug. 12, 1954.
Blanchard graduated from Rock Island High School in 1954, after returning from Korea. He bounced around to several jobs. He was keenly interested in math, and had many ideas for new inventions such as the “Two-Faced Mirror,” “Oxygen Intensifier,” “Wall Washing Machine,” and “The Suicide Helicopter.” His son, Michael, said he was “somewhat of an inventor.” He eventually came to work for General Electric, retiring in early 2000.
He moved to the mountains in Hendersonville, N.C., and last lived at Mountain View Assisted Living in Hendersonville before going into Four Seasons Hospice in Flat Rock, where he died from complications of Alzheimer’s on Dec. 4, 2012.
We honor his service.