John Lawrence Blankenberger
John Lawrence Blankenberger died peacefully in his Springfield, IL, home September 26, 2020, after a long battle with ill health. Family and friends remember him for his life-long commitment to service to others. He was born October 4, 1940, in Evansville, IN, the oldest of four children of Lambert and Alma Head Blankenberger. He was raised in Evansville and attended nearby St. Meinrad Monastery and Seminary for high school and two years of college. He transferred to Brescia College (now Brescia University) in Owensboro, KY, graduating in 1964 with a degree in history.
He met his wife, Grace Curry Blankenberger, at Brescia and married her in 1964. The couple raised six children.
John taught history to high school students for several years before going to work with the Social Security Administration. In a 30-year career with Social Security, he held numerous positions in various parts of the Tri-State, including manager of the Vincennes, IN, office. In 1981, he moved his family to Springfield where he served as the liaison between Social Security and Illinois state agencies.
An avid sports fan and a gifted amateur athlete, John pitched on many local fast pitch softball teams over the years. He helped establish the basketball program at the former Ursuline Academy in Springfield and coached both basketball and baseball there. He also enjoyed music and played the guitar and sang.
He was a devout Catholic and was an active member of his parishes. He and his wife served as mentors for Marriage Encounter groups and numerous retreats in the Koinonia movement throughout the Springfield diocese, as well as leading Jacksonville prison retreats.
John’s community service included, among others, volunteering at the Catholic Charities homeless shelter, and the bread line at St. John’s Hospital. He was a founding member and served on the board of M.E.R.C.Y Communities, a non-profit sustaining and empowering single mothers. For about 10 years, he volunteered as an interpreter at New Salem historic village. Above all, however, he was devoted to his family.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Grace Curry Blankenberger; sons Ken, Bob, Dan (Michele) and Kevin Blankenberger; daughters Patty Drews and Amy Blankenberger; grandchildren, Evan, Lauren, Victoria, Isabella, Amelia, Colin, and Seth; and brother, Larry Blankenberger. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and in-laws.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Lambert and Alma Head Blankenberger; brother, Bill Blankenberger, and sister Judy Brown.
Visitation: 10am – 12pm Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Christ the King Catholic Church.
Funeral Mass: 12pm, Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Christ the King Catholic Church with Reverend Michael Berndt officiating. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.
LIVE STREAM LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn_ygD_Xc9c
Memorial contributions may be made to New Salem Lincoln League or M.E.R.C.Y. Communities.
CDC Protocol shall be followed.
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