Robert Carl "Bob" Blanz, 79, a resident of Petoskey, Mich., passed away peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, at Hospice of Little Traverse Bay Hiland Cottage in Petoskey.
Bob was born on April 22, 1932, in Allegan, Mich., to Christine and Carl Blanz, the sixth child of six. He graduated the valedictorian of his Galion (Ohio) High School class, and went on to earn a B.S. electrical engineering degree from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. He completed post-graduate work at Princeton, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rutgers College, and Carleton College. After a stint serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he returned to the Bell System where he enjoyed a nearly 40-year career. He retired as the president of both Nevada Bell and Mountain Bell.
On Feb. 7, 1959, he married Ethel Mae Skidmore in Columbus, Ohio. They had five daughters and moved 17 times from coast to coast, before settling in Petoskey for retirement. During his career, he served on the boards of many organizations, including the Denver United Way, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Nevada Development Authority, the C. M. Russell Museum, and others. Summer always brought a trip to the family's beloved Bay View.
Upon retirement, Bob moved to Petoskey where he enjoyed snow skiing, water skiing, hunting, travel, and volunteer work. He served as the president of the Petoskey Chapter of Rotary International, the chairman of the board of North Central Michigan College, and as a trustee for the Interlochen Center for the Arts. In addition, he was a proud founding member of New Life Anglican Church in Petoskey, serving as senior warden.
He is survived by his former wife, Ethel; his five daughters, Elizabeth (Philip) of Los Angeles, Calif., Jeane of Petoskey, Sarah (Mike) of Kansas City, Kan., Laura (Steve) of Denver, Colo., and Susanna of Petoskey; as well as four grandchildren, Caroline (California), Sarah Elizabeth (Colorado), Davis (Kansas), and Ryan (California); and his beloved sister, Florence "Tots" Wells, of Vacaville, Calif.; as well as many special nieces and nephews, and numerous treasured friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Christine and Carl, and his siblings, Helen (John), Jeane (Alan), Ray (Eileen), and Russell "Bud."
Visitation will take place from 4-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Bay View auditorium. The Rev. Michael J. Bridge will officiate. A reception will follow at the Petoskey-Bay View Country Club. He will be interred privately at Greenwood Cemetery, Petoskey.
Arrangements are being handled by Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey.
In lieu of flowers, Bob requested donations be made to the Manna Food Project, 8791 McBride Park, Harbor Springs, Mich. 49720.
Those wishing to share a memory of Bob may do so online at www.stonefuneralhomeinc.com.