Donald Frances Blessman, 92, of Urbana passed away peacefully at Willowbrook Memory Care of Savoy on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.
He was born on February 17, 1927, in Champaign, Illinois to Joseph and Frances (Grubb) Blessman. He was wed to the love of his life, Joyce, on January 3, 1987. They enjoyed 32 years of wonderful marriage and were together until Don’s passing. Joyce survives.
Also surviving are three nieces, Ann Koontz, Donna (Bill) Ferguson, and Mary Lee Richbark; one nephew, Jim (Linda) Richbark; Joyce’s sons, Jack Schriefer, Jeff (Paulette) Schriefer, and Eric (Tina) Schriefer; Joyce’s daughters, Bobbi (Tony) Dodd, Elizabeth (Jeff) Schleef, and Mary Beth (John) Jacobson; and Joyce’s ten grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one stepmother, Mary Blessman; one brother, Robert Louis Blessman; one sister, Jeannine Thoburn: Joyce’s son, Melvin Schriefer, Jr.; and Joyce’s great-grandson, Blayne Shelton.
Don was a proud Navy Veteran, serving in World War II in the Pacific Combat Theater on board the USS McCaffery. He remained in the Navy until 1948. Following his service to country, he worked a full and successful 35 year career for Illinois Bell Telephone, retiring in 1983.
In retirement, Don loved to travel and spend time with family and friends. Over the years, he was known as a skilled dancer, an accomplished archer, an expert marksman, an ardent reader of multiple literary genres, a lover of cats, a well versed military historian, and a master craftsman in woodworking. He also enjoyed meeting on ‘First Fridays’ with retired coworkers, the Illinois Bell Telephone Pioneers. He was an avid fan of the University of Illinois women’s volleyball team and enjoyed following Joyce’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in their various athletic endeavors.
Don was a life member of both the American Legion, Champaign Post #24 and the Champaign-Urbana Elks Lodge, #2497. He was a member of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Illinois; the 32nd Degree Masonic Center of Danville; the Western Star Lodge of Champaign, #240; the Moose Fraternity of Tuscola Lodge, #729; the SAR of Springfield; the Prairie Chapter of Mayflower Descendents in Springfield; and the VFW of Villa Grove. In addition to all of this, Don was also a devoted member of the Camargo United Methodist Church.
Don was always generous with a variety of charities, welcoming with a friendly smile, and filled with genuine well wishes for anyone who happened to be in his company. But those who knew him best were well aware of the fact that his sun rose and set with a fully transparent and truly genuine love for his wife, Joyce. He was never shy about reminding those around him that he was indeed a “blessed man” to have her in his life.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 7:00 PM on Sunday, July 7th at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Champaign, IL. 710 N. Neil St. Champaign, IL. Funeral services will be at 10:00 AM on Monday, July 8th, also at Sunset Funeral Home. Burial will be at Mt. Hope Cemetery 611 E. Pennsylvania Ave. Champaign, IL.
Memorial contributions may be made in Donald’s name to The Humane Society or the Camargo United Methodist Church.