Colonel (Retired) Donald “Don” Blascak (88) passed away quietly on December 10, 2022. His daughter and son were by his side at the time of his passing.
Don was born, August 19, 1934, in West Orange, New Jersey, where he attended West Orange High School. After high school, Don studied Agricultural Science at The Ohio State University. Upon graduation, he was commissioned into the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant on October 26, 1956 and served on Active Duty for 30 years, ultimately retiring as a Colonel on October 31, 1986. During his 30 years of service, Don served as: an Armor Officer; in the US Army Special Forces; with the Central Intelligence Agency; and in Military Intelligence. He commanded at every level from platoon through brigade. In addition to three tours in Vietnam, Don served overseas in Korea, Germany, and Panama. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Service Medal and many more. He was inducted into the MI Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Don also received the Knowlton Award recognizing outstanding and continued service to the Military Intelligence community.
Early in his career he met and married Lila JoAnn Berry, of Fayetteville, NC. Together they travelled the world (home is where the Army sends you), and raised two children, daughter, Marlee and son, Marc.
Following a full career of service to the nation as an Army Officer, Don embarked on the next chapter of his life, giving to others and to his community. He was deeply involved in: the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans; the Festival of Hope; Hope Fest; the Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless, their Winter Shelter Committee, and their Discharge Planning Committee; and the Angel Tree program. Ever busy, Don sat on the boards of: Mission Tucson; Hope of Glory; Pima County Community Justice Board; Good News Newspaper; Interfaith Coalition for the Homeless; United Way – Supporting Senior – Compassion Capital Fund; the Tucson Coalition of Compassionate Care Ministries; and Compass Affordable Housing, Inc.. In support of the American Red Cross, he served in many coordinator positions, chairperson positions, and instructor for multiple courses. He also served as a Shelter Manager in support of the Rodeo Chedeski Fire and Hurricane Katrina response.
In addition to the military awards already mentioned, Don received the Robert Moore Award from Compass Health, and was recognized as Volunteer of the Year by Sun Sounds Radio Reading Service, and also as Volunteer of the Year by the Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness.
Besides helping others, Don had two passions, dogs and military history. He gave countless hours of service to the Southern Arizona Greyhound Rescue. Don never met a greyhound he wouldn’t adopt and at his height had three greyhounds calling his house their home. Don was fascinated, some would say obsessed, with the study of the Battle of Gettysburg. Through the years, he visited the battlefield more than a dozen times, led small gatherings on battlefield tours there, and created a collection of Gettysburg books and memorabilia perhaps second only to the actual Gettysburg Museum.
He is preceded in death by his father, Stanley Joseph Blascak, his mother Ruth Godfrey Blascak, and his wife Lila JoAnn Berry Blascak. Don is survived by his daughter Marlee Blascak Marshall, her husband LTC (RET) Timothy J. Marshall, grandsons Weston Timothy Marshall (22) and Jeb Owen Marshall (20), all of Lansing, Kansas. And, his son Marc Weston Blascak of Tucson, Arizona.
A Celebration of a Life Well Lived is scheduled for December 19th, at 11:00am, at Grace Community Church, 9755 N. La Cholla Blvd, Tucson, AZ.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to “Compass Affordable Housing” at 48 N. Tucson Blvd. #102, Tucson, AZ 85716 or to www.compassaffordablehousing.org