Lt. Col. Carlton Wade Blair, Jr. (USAF Ret), 73, died on January 30, 2017 after a brief illness. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Ashley J. Blair and his parents, Carlton W. Blair Sr. and Katherine K. Blair. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Julie Hernandez Blair, his daughter Angela B. Hutchinson (Mitchell) of Atlanta, GA, son Carlton W. Blair III (Joni) of Bozeman, MT, and his sisters Kathy B. Rousakis (Jim) of Brooksville, FL and Helen B. Bertagna (Diego) of Beverly Hills, FL. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Hamilton, Harrison, Jules Ashton Blair and Isabel, Andrew, and Luke Hutchinson.
A native of Savannah, he is a 1961 graduate of Benedictine Military School. He graduated from the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia and earned a Masters in psychology and human relations. He married the love of his life, Julie Hernandez and shared 50 years of adventure. Carl had many titles during his life but his favorite was “Poppy” to his six grandchildren. Physical ailments never slowed Carl down. His mind was always in high gear, his attitude positive and often humorous, his wit sharp, and his bridge game occasionally brilliant.
He was in the United States Air Force where he served at the Pentagon, at the Allied Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy and various duty stations in the United States, retiring after 22 years. Among the many awards, he received is the Bronze Star Medal for his service in the Vietnam War and the Meritorious Service Medal and Joint Services Commendation Medal. He served as Chatham County State Court Clerk and Administrator and retired after 18 years. He spent 18 months in Zagreb, Croatia where he served as Chief of Party for the United States Agency for International Development where he led efforts to establish the court system in Zagreb, Croatia.
He and Julie handled adversity with the same faith that they shared during the good times. When their youngest daughter, Ashley, died, Carl turned his heartbreak into good for others. He founded the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Carolina (Charleston) that has since granted over 2,000 wishes. He received the South Carolina Governor’s Volunteer Award and the United States Air Force Excalibur award which recognized his contributions to the community.
Carl loved traveling and always insisted on a complete itinerary, revised until it was perfect. For this last final trip, he didn’t get to choose the itinerary but he did spend a lifetime preparing for his departure from this world. He was loyal, loving, and true to his community, his church, his country, his friends, and, most of all, his family. His blueprint of how to live is an inspiration to his family and friends.
Visitation will be Thursday, February 2, at St. Peter the Apostle Church from 4 to 6pm with a Rosary at 5:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, February 3, at St. Peter’s at 11:30am. In lieu of flowers, remembrances can be sent to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Carolina, Jesuit Refugee Service and Benedictine Military School.