We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Collison Carey Hand Funeral Home
Walter James Blair was born on April 18, 1923 to Edward Leslie Blair and Maude Leerdam Blair in Schuylerville, New York. Walter was the oldest of 13 children born into this family. At the beginning of the great depression, his parents moved the family from New York to St. Eustatius, commonly known as Statia, in the Netherland Antilles for a better life.
Walter spent most of his formative years in Statia where he developed a strong work ethic, which he never lost, working on the family farm. In addition to his work ethic, Walter also developed a love of God, and was baptized into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church when he was 16 years old. Like his work ethic, Walter retained his love of God and was an active member of the Seventh-Day Adventist his entire life.
During World War 2, Walter wanted to go to school in Trinidad to study the Ministry . He traveled to St. Thomas to get a passport. When the authorities in St. Thomas realized he was an U.S. citizen, Walter was immediately drafted into the US Army. He served his time in Puerto Rico and was honorably discharged once the War was over.
After he left the Army, Walter made his way to New York to finish his education. Once in New York, Walter went to school and completed training to become an x-ray technician. He worked as an x-ray technician until his retirement in 1998.
In addition to starting his career as an x-ray technician, Walter met the first love of his life, Helen Derrick. Walter and Helen married in 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, and began their lives together. In 1951, the family increased when their daughter, Karen Sue, was born. The family increased again in 1960 when their son, Keith, was born. Walter's oldest son, Charles completed the family.
While raising their family, their time in Brooklyn was active with their church, the Brownsville SDA Church which eventually became the Brooklyn Temple SDA Church. Walter was an active member of the church, holding various church offices and eventually becoming the head elder at the church.
After a while, the call of suburban living was too strong to ignore and Walter moved the family from Brooklyn to Hempstead, New York in 1965. Walter made sure his family kept connected with the extended family that remained in Brooklyn by hosting family get-togethers and making frequent visits to Brooklyn.
Walter continued that work ethic that he developed in Statia. He worked hard to make sure his children received education in SDA schools, by sometimes working two jobs. Walter loved the water and he frequently took the family to the beach on days he got home from work early. He also loved to travel and made sure that the family took regular vacations together, usually somewhere where there was a beach.
After the move to Hempstead, in 1970 he and the family started attending the Hempstead Temple SDA Church which later became the Ebenezer SDA Church. While at Ebenezer, Walter could be counted on not only to show leadership in spiritual matters but also in the practical matters of church procedure. He combined his love of studying the Bible with his knowledge of the duties of almost every church office. He was always the source of sound advice to the members not only of Ebenezer but of all the churches he attended.
In 1986, tragedy struck the family when Karen died after a year-long battle with cancer. Tragedy struck again in 1989 when the love of his life, Helen, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. While he was heart-broken he was able to pick up the pieces with the help of Keith and Suzie, his daughter-in-law, who moved in with him. During this time, he became a doting grandfather to Kristen and then Aaron.
In 1992, Walter was introduced to Mary Monroe, who became the second love of his life. After a short courtship, they were married in November, 1993. They enjoyed many happy years in Hempstead, continuing to entertain their blended families and friends. In 1998, Walter and Mary decided it was time for a warmer climate and retired to Florida.
When they moved to Florida, Walter could not shake the urge to work, and got a job at Publix bagging groceries. Walter did this until Mary prevailed on him to stop and enjoy retired life. Walter did enjoy retired life. They traveled, they got together with family and friends that also retired to Florida, and, of course, were active members of the Bethel SDA Church in Orlando. They also hosted numerous visits from family that would come to visit them in Apopka.
In March of 2021, Walter, for the second time, lost the love of his life when Mary suffered a massive stroke and died. At that point, Walter went to live with Keith and Suzie in Maryland. He quickly adapted to life in Maryland and even enjoyed watching the snow fall as he hadn't experienced winter since 1998. In May, 2022, Walter's health started to take a turn, and he went into the hospital on May 26. On June 9, with Keith at his side, Walter peacefully took his last breath and now awaits Jesus' return so he can be reunited with his family.
Walter leaves to mourn his loving son and wife, Keith and Faith Blair, grandchildren, Kristen, Aaron, and Benjamin Blair, loving grandson and wife, Dale and Michelle Mason, great-grandchildren Dale and Naomi Mason and Franc and wife Sandra Coleman, sister Leah Francis, brother John Wilson Blair, brother and sister-in-law Frank and Louise Blair, sister Wilder Astwood, brother and sister-in-law Edwin and Greta Blair, sisters-in-law Jean Blair and Daphne Blair, step-daughter Sheila Robinson and step-son James Monroe Jr. plus many, many nieces and nephews, grandchildren, God-children and friends.