James Lee (Jim) Blankenship passed from this life on August 15, 2021, at his home in Canon City, where he had resided for the past 47 years. Jim was the son and second child of Curtis and Elizabeth Meyer Blankenship, born in Ironton, Ohio on October 15, 1935. Jim regularly told stories of growing up in Ironton on the Ohio River where his life was not too different than what you read in the pages of Tom Sawyer. In January 1956, Jim joined the United States Air Force. He served active duty for 4 years and reserve duty for 2 years from which he was honorably discharged. After his discharge, he met Josephine Lopez in Woodland, California. In October 1960, Jim and Jo got in Jim’s 1960 Ford and headed off to Elko, Nevada where they were married.
In May 1963, Jim and Jo’s first son, Daniel Curtis was born and then 3 years later in July 1966, their second son James Lee II was born. In 1964 Jim was hired on with Ideal Cement Company at the Sacramento terminal. It was the beginning of a 33-year career with Ideal (later Holnam) that took him from Sacramento to Redwood City, California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Knoxville, Tennessee; and finally, Portland, Colorado in the summer of 1974. Jim was a hard worker and was very highly regarded by many of the employees at the cement plant.
Jim grew up in an era where you didn’t throw things away; you maintained them and fixed them when they broke. He kept everything around the house, including his vehicles in top running shape and repaired them whenever needed. He also seemed to like pouring concrete, which he enlisted the help of his boys on many early Saturday mornings. Dan would mix, Jim (son) would wheel the concrete and Jim (dad) would do the finish work. It was a real character builder, for the boys.
Jim and Jo, with the boys always in tow, spent many vacations traveling the country to see relatives, Jim’s relatives in Ohio and Jo’s relatives in California. They always drove, and this was before TV in the car or video games, so the boys saw the Country and became walking atlases.
After retirement, Jim and Jo became regulars in Cripple Creek on Wednesdays. It was their social event together for the week. As time went on, they became friends with the casino employees, other gamblers, and many of the shop owners in town. Jim intermittently continued the tradition after Jo passed away and then got back into his every week routine with Dan in the fall of 2019. All was good until COVID hit and Dan went back to work.
In the final months of his life, Jim was blessed to be served by the angelic nurses and nursing assistants from Sangre de Cristo Community Care. He enjoyed their daily visits and even told Dan to quit talking to the nurses because they were there to see him. Their compassion and care for him was the icing on a life well lived.
Jim is survived by his son Dan, of Fountain; sister, Carolyn Bailey of Las Vegas; grandson, Curtis, wife Hannah and great-grandson Noah Blankenship of Ardmore, Oklahoma; grandson Eric, wife Ronnie and great-grandson William Blankenship of Jensen Beach, Florida; grandsons Ben, Andrew and Owen Blankenship of Louisville, Colorado; daughters in-law Cindy Blankenship of New Braunfels, Texas and Jennifer Blankenship of Louisville, Colorado; and sister in-law Anna, husband Don Northam of Woodland, California. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Joe Blankenship; sisters, Rose Dillon and Louise Noe; beloved wife Jo and son Jim.
Jim professed his faith in Jesus Christ and accepted Christ as his savior and the gift of everlasting life. A graveside service will be held on Friday, August 27 at 10:30 am at Mountain Vale cemetery. All friends are invited to celebrate the life of Jim Blankenship.
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