Memorial services for Donald D. Blake, 87, of rural Cherokee will be 11:00 A.M. Saturday, April 6, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church in Aurelia, with Pastor Kim Dewey officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service, with the family present, at the First United Methodist Church in Aurelia. Burial will be in the Afton Township Cemetery, rural Cherokee. It was Don’s wish to be cremated. The Redig Funeral Home of Aurelia is in charge of arrangements. Memorials may be directed to Cherokee Regional Medical Center Hospice.
Donald Dean Blake was born July 26, 1931, the son of John D. and Agnes (Scott) Blake at Cherokee, IA. He attended Afton Township School number 2 and Aurelia Community School, graduating in 1949.
In January of 1951 Don enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in Korea during the Korean War in the 5th Air Force with the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing. He was a senior aircraft mechanic working mostly on C-47 aircraft. He received the Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Medal and the South Korean Presidential Unit Citation. In June of 2000 he received the Korean War 50th Anniversary Medal from the President of South Korea. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force Don served five years in the United States Air Force Reserve.
On June 1st, 1955, Don married Annette Howe at the Woodlawn Christian Church in Lake City, Iowa. They had been married 63 years. They had farmed and lived their entire married life on the Blake family farm north of Aurelia.
Don had a great love for flying. He held a Private Pilot Certificate and an Aircraft Mechanic Airframe and Powerplant Certificate and held an F.A.A. Inspection Authorization. He knew he wanted to be a pilot from the time his neighbor, Victor Carlson, gave him his first ride in his Aeronca Defender at age 15. He worked on aircraft for many years at the Cherokee Municipal Airport and in his shop on the farm. Don and Annette spent many hours in the air in their Piper Tri-Pacers. Don gave many people their first airplane ride.
Don was a member of the Grashoff-McManus American Legion Post #390 of Aurelia for over 50 years, and the Cherokee VFW Post 2253.
Over the years Don had belonged to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and the Cherokee Flying Club. Don loved vacationing with this family in the Ozarks. After retirement Don spent many hours on the computer and enjoyed flying his Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Don died Tuesday, April 2, 2019, at Cherokee Specialty Care in Cherokee, Iowa.
Preceding Don in death were his parents, two brothers; Rolan and Russell, one sister; Muriel Hasenwinkel, Annette’s parents; Dewey and Tillie (Wilkie) Howe, three brothers-in-law; Wilmer Anderson, Raymond Hasenwinkel, and Harold Sommerfeld, and four sisters-in-law; Elizabeth Sommerfeld, Dorothy Wood, Peggy Blake and Donna Blake.
Survivors include his wife, Annette, three children; Debbie and her husband Arthur Owens of Ankeny, IA, Laurie and her husband Kevin Huss of Alta, and Mike and his wife Diane Blake of Aurelia. Also surviving are two grandchildren; Brent and his wife Sarah Lytle of Aurelia and Brooke and her husband Mark Robb of West Des Moines, five step-grandchildren; Ryan and his wife Joy Harrison of Sioux Falls, SD, Dustin and his wife Amanda Harrison of Omaha, NE, Jason and his wife Courtney Huss of Chapman, KS, Jennifer and her husband Justin Kjolhede of West Point, NE, and Josh and his wife Jessica Huss of Storm Lake, six great-grandchildren, eleven step-great-grandchildren, one sister, Eleanor Anderson of Aurelia, one brother-in-law, Gary Wood of Columbus, IN, and other relatives and friends.