The Woodford Sun
March 9, 2000 issue
Former Versailles resident and businessman Charlie Blair, who was also a superb musician and orchestra leader, died Thursday, March 2, 2000, at Central Baptist Hospital, Lexington, after a series of health problems.
Mr. Blair, who was 70, was a founder and former president and chairman of the board of Home Federal Savings & Loan in Versailles and was in recent years former president and chief executive officer of Blair Mortgage Co. in Lexington. He was also a former owner of The Woodlands Grille in Lexington; had worked for the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Blood-Horse, and published an alternative newspaper, The Lexington Challenge, for a short time.
His wife, Rebecca Bishop Blair, who survives, retired in June 1987 after teaching art in Woodford County Schools for 31 years.
Mr. Blair was widely known for his musicianship, first as a professional trumpet player and later as director of the Men of Note, a Lexington-based big band whose members included attorneys, doctors, engineers, professors, architects, graduate students, and business people. His professional music career prior to the Korean War included a stint with the Woody Herman Band.
Born Charles Vernon Blair in Harlan, Mr. Blair was the son of the late Fred and Ada Robbins Blair. He began playing the trumpet at age 11 and by the time he was 14 was playing full time with big dance bands in Eastern Kentucky.
From the first day that Mr. Blair entered Western Kentucky University on a music scholarship, he directed a big band on campus known as the Red and Gray (Western's school colors).
He served as an infantry officer during the Korean War, where he suffered injuries from a mortar blast.
After the war, he completed his college education at the University of Kentucky, graduating with a degree in music, although he took all the journalism courses he could.
From 1954 until 1960, Mr. Blair continued to play in and direct his own big band, then took a break from music for 18 years, participating occasionally in rehearsals and charity events. He accepted an offer to direct the Men of Note in 1978.
Two different circumstances kept Mr. Blair from playing trumpet for several years. First, he underwent abdominal surgery and that operation affected his diaphragm. Second, dental surgery resulted in a damaged nerve from which he lost all feeling in his lower lip. He said in a 1979 interview in The Woodford Sun that some feeling had returned to his lip and "It's gotten me to thinking about playing again. . . . . If I do get back playing, I think it would be solo work with the Men of Note, and only after I get back to an acceptable level."
Mr. Blair's exceptional musicianship was matched by his outgoing personality, a keen sense of humor, and a warm smile for everyone.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Russell Clark Blair, and two grandchildren, Chase Tyler Blair and Shelby Robbins Blair, all of Lexington.
Private graveside services were held in Hillcrest Memorial Park in Lexington. Casket bearers were Dean Reed, Pat Hall, Steve Marquardt, and Fred Pope. Honorary bearers were Clay Brandenburg, Doris and Al Dixon, and Joan and James Patterson. Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Lexington, was in charge of arrangements.
Dorothy Jane Cheek Brown, 67, of Nicholasville, widow of Ellis V. Brown, died Friday, March 3, 2000, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington.
Born in Woodford County, she was a daughter of the late William and Lillian Howe Cheek and was a member of the Nicholasville Presbyterian Church. She was a retired secretary of the Music and Chemistry Departments of the University Kentucky.
Survivors include two daughters, Sharon Kaye Hughes, Versailles, and Nancy Elizabeth Jenkins, Lexington; a son, Scott Brown, San Francisco, Calif., and five grandchildren, Rachel and Tyler Hughes, and Nisha, Markisha and Tori Jenkins.
Services were conducted at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Lexington, by the Rev. William K. Simmons. Burial was in the Blue Grass Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Jessamine County. Casket bearers were Dr. Todd Marcum, Charles David Collins, Jerry Musselman, Bill Razor, Cory Allen, and Dave Krusenklaus. Memorials are suggested to the Woodford Humane Society, Lawrenceburg Rd., Versailles 40383, or the Jessamine Humane Society, 3035 Lexington Rd., Nicholasville 40356.
James F. Downey
James Franklin Downey, 75, of 204 McDavid Drive, Versailles, retired assistant superintendent of the Tyrone Power Station, died Friday evening, March 3, 2000, at his home.
Born in Woodford County, he was the son of the late Roscoe V. and Mary G. Ward Downey, was a U.S. Navy Veteran of World War II, and was a member of the Versailles United Methodist Church. He was a former member of the Civil Defense; was a trained emergency medical technician (EMT), and was a Kentucky Colonel and a member of the Cornerstones Senior Group at his church.
He is survived by his wife, Christine Kratzer Downey, Versailles; a son, James Ronald Downey, Fishers, Ind.; a stepdaughter, Linda Jo Nevins, Lawrenceburg; a brother, Allen Downey, Shreveport, La.; five grandchildren, Michael Adams, Lawrenceburg; Bob Nevins, Clarksville, Ind.; Debbie Olson, La Grange; Erin Elizabeth Downey, Lexington, and Matthew Downey, Fishers, Ind., and three great-grandchildren, Rebecca Adams, Emily Adams, and Angela Winters. A great-grandson, Ryan Winters, is deceased.
Services were conducted at 2 p.m. Monday, March 6, at the Versailles United Methodist Church by the Rev. Harold Henson, the Rev. Brad Garrett, and Chaplain Craig Ryan. Interment was in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Woodford County. Casket bearers were Al Lascola, Joe Oriti, Roger Browning, Mike Adams, Bob Nevins, and Roy King. The Blackburn & Ward Funeral Home, Versailles, was in charge of arrangements. Memorials are suggested to the Hospice of the Bluegrass, 208 Steele St., Frankfort 40601.
Pete K. Giles Jr.
Pete K. Giles Jr., 76, of Versailles, husband of Pat Wiley Giles, died Thursday, March 2, 2000, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington.
Born in Woodford County, he was the son of the late Peter K. and Eva O'Nan Giles Sr. Mr. Giles was a retired plumbing contractor and a member of the Glen's Creek Baptist Church. He was also a U. S. Army veteran of World War II.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by four daughters, Sharon Giles and Terri Sims, both of Versailles; Sonnie Brough, Lawrenceburg, and Lois Ann Fetters, Cincinnati, Ohio; four sons, Pete Giles III and Danny Giles, both of Lawrenceburg, and Jeff Giles and David Giles, both of Versailles, three sisters, Roberta Giles, Versailles; Elizabeth Wainscott, Philpot, and Mary Ann Cooley, Lexington; a brother, John W. Giles, Lawrenceburg; 11 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Two sisters, two brothers, and a grandson, Scott Mason Showalter, are deceased.
Services were conducted at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at the Duell-Clark Funeral Chapel, Versailles, by the Rev. James Allen. Burial was in the Rose Crest Cemetery, Versailles. Casket bearers were Danny Giles, David Giles, Jeff Giles, David Sims, Larry Giles, and Pete Giles III. Honorary bearers were John Henry Wilcox and Billy VanPelt.
Adaline Woolums Goodlett, 74, of Versailles, widow of William C. Goodlett, died Monday, March 6, 2000, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington.
Born in Woodford County, she was the daughter of the late Omer and Katie Stevens Woolums. Mrs. Goodlett had been an employee of General Motors, Lexington, was a retired employee of the Woodford County Board of Education, and was a member of King's Way Assembly of God Church, Versailles.
She is survived by a daughter, Donna Berger, Versailles; two stepdaughters, Linda Gayle Payton, Lawrenceburg, and Lakeeta Marie Woods, Anderson County; three sons, Phillip Spicer, La Grange; David Spicer, Liberty, and Russell Wayne Goodlett, Versailles; a stepson, Billy Goodlett, Versailles; 14 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.
Services were conducted at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the Duell-Clark Funeral Chapel, Versailles, by the Rev. Kenneth Preston. Burial was in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Woodford County.
Elwood Hill, 71, of Lexington, formerly of Midway, husband of Tevis Ann Hill, died Sunday, March 5, 2000, at Central Baptist Hospital, Lexington.
Born in Woodford County, he was the son of the late Calvin and Audrey Harrod Hill. Mr. Hill was a member of the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Woodford County, a retired IBM employee, and a seasonal Keeneland employee. He was a U.S. Army veteran, with service during the Korean Conflict.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Jeffrey Hill, Frankfort; a grandchild, Lee Ann Hill, and a sister, JoAnn Sauer, Versailles.
Services were conducted at 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church by the Rev. Jerry Montgomery. Burial was in the Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Woodford County. Casket bearers were Mark Smith, David Doss, Wade Hembree, Charles Taylor, Mark Wright, and Brent Stratton. Honorary bearers were Dr. Terrance Furlou, Bill Pugh, Andy Sallee, Robert Hamilton, Ernie Bowman, Henry Carl, Billy Cheek, Eddie Littrell, and Martin Atcher. The Duell-Clark Funeral Chapel, Versailles, was in charge of arrangements.
Marion C. Mann
Marion Cecil Mann, 85, a resident of Lexington for the past 52 years, died Sunday, March 5, 2000.
A native of Nicholas County, he was a son of the late Francis Marion and Elizabeth Boone Mann. He was married to the late Margaret Hellard Mann for 52 years.
During World War II, he served as a staff sergeant in the Army Air Forces and received several medals, including the Soldier's Medal. He was the coach of the semi-pro baseball team, the Lexington Aetna Hawks. He was a tractor-trailer driver for Roadway, a restaurant operator of the former Imperial Cafe, and a district sales manager for Royal Crown Cola. He served the church in many capacities, including deacon and elder.
He is survived by three daughters, Barbara Sharp, Versailles; Cathy Mann Harper, Lexington, and Vickie Hulbert, Bay Minette, Ala.; six grandchildren, Michele Ross, Versailles; Eric Sharp II, Louisville; Leroy Dicks III, Burgin; Heather Sharp and Tom Harney, both of Lexington, and Adam Hulbert, Bay Minette; six great-grandchildren; a brother, Clay Mann, Carlisle; and two sisters, Rebecca Steves, Anderson, Ind., and Katherine Brindley, Vevay, Ind. A son, Marion C. Mann Jr.; two sisters, Diddie Hollingsworth and Beulah Dollins; a granddaughter, Jenny Rebecca Dicks, and a great-granddaughter, Summer Christina Dicks, are deceased
Services were conducted at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home, Lexington, by the Rev. Whit Criswell. Burial was in the Blue Grass Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Jessamine County. Military honors were conducted by the VFW Post 680. Casket bearers were Charles Sharp, George Hulbert, Eric Sharp II, Tom Harney, Paul Hollingsworth, and Harold Jetter. Memorials are suggested to the VFW Post No. 680, 1495 Leestown Rd., Lexington 40505.
Edward S. Reno
Edward S. Reno, 79, Lexington, formerly of Cleveland, Ohio, husband of Jean Blessing Reno, died Friday, March 3, 2000, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington.
He was the retired owner and president of Briar Creek Coal Co. and Coal Marketing, Inc. Born in Cleveland, he was the son of the late Adolphe W. and Edna Skees Reno. He attended Ohio Wesleyan College for two years, was a member of the Presbyterian Church and was a major and member of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group flying B-24s for the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
Other survivors include a son, Edward Scott Reno, and two grandchildren, Mack Scott Reno and Whitney Lynn Reno, all of Versailles, and a nephew. A sister, Mary Ann Thomas, is deceased.
Memorial services were conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 7, in the Blue Grass Memorial Gardens Chapel, Jessamine County, by the Rev. Randy Nation. Entombment was in the Blue Grass Memorial Gardens Mausoleum. The W. R. Milward Mortuary-Broadway, Lexington, was in charge of arrangements. Contributions may be made to the World War II Memorial Fund, American Battle Monument Commission, P.O. Box 96766, Washington, D.C. 20090-6766.
Louise E. Roberts
Louise Elizabeth Roberts, 87, who had resided at Taylor Manor Nursing Home, Versailles, widow of Jesse Roberts, died Sunday, Feb. 20, 2000 at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington, after a lengthy illness.
She was the daughter of the late Andrew Jackson Warner and Sarah Elizabeth Bogie Warner and was a member of the Hillsboro Baptist Church, Woodford County.
She is survived by a daughter, Patricia Verne Shearer Bowman, Versailles; two sons, Gene F. Roberts and Jerry Wayne Roberts, both of Nicholasville; 13 grandchildren; several great- and great-great-grandchildren; and five sisters, Dora Warner Jones, Vola Miller,. Ruby Milner, Rose Berryman, and Juanita Eastman. A daughter and a son, Alma Christine Shearer Smith and Russell James Shearer, are deceased.
Services were conducted at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, at Betts & West Funeral Home, Nicholasville, by the Rev. Don White. Burial was in Bluegrass Memorial Gardens, Jessamine County. Family members served as casket bearers.
Robert L. Simpson
Robert Lee Simpson, 77, of Lawrenceburg, husband of Nellie Hawkins Simpson, died Thursday, March 2, 2000, at St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington.
He was a son of the late George and Katherine Simpson. Born in Mackville, Washington County, he spent most of his youth in Mercer Co. He was an active member of the Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church and a retiree of the IBM Co. He was a World War II Army veteran, serving in the 88th Infantry, and saw action throughout the Italian Campaign in Europe. He was also a member of the Anderson American Legion Post No. 34 and the Masonic Lodge No. 160, Lexington.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Linda Vittitow, Versailles; two grandchildren, Holly Thompson, Atlanta, Ga., and Dean Vittitow, Versailles; three sisters, Edith Smith and Mary Webb, both of Lexington, and Bessie Yates, Florence; a brother, William Simpson, Carrollton, Ga., and 25 nieces and nephews. A brother, Judson Simpson, is deceased.
Services were conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4, at the Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church by the Rev. Mark Gibbons and Dr. Greg Burton. Burial was in the Lawrenceburg Cemetery. The Ritchie-Peach-Todd Funeral Home, Lawrenceburg, was in charge of arrangements. Graveside Masonic rites were observed. Casket bearers were Ray Caldwell, Charles Duncan, Jeff Simpson, Steve Smith, Dean Vittitow, and Elliott Vittitow. Honorary bearers were J. N. Coffey, Dave Disponett, James Freeman, James Gilbert, Donald Jenkins, George Kinne, Lawrence Lay, Walter Patrick, Louis Shryock, Abbie Wash, Billy Wellman, and Larry Wester. Contributions are suggested to the Lawrenceburg United Methodist Church Building Fund, 565 Carlton Dr., Lawrenceburg 40342.