February 3, 1929 – January 23, 2022
VISITATION: Monday, January 31st from 5pm to 7pm At the West Center Chapel. FUNERAL SERVICE: Tuesday, February 1st at 11am at Fort Street Church of Christ. 5922 Fort Street. Interment: Forest Lawn with Military Honors.
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Honoring the Life of a Patriarch
Kenneth arrived in this world on February 3, 1929, in the small town of Elsberry, Missouri to Alberta Webster and Lloyd Blair. He was the third child of Alberta and Lloyd’s twelve children. Kenneth’s siblings were Robert, Wilford, Stella, Lucille, Jeanette, Betty, Manford, Randolph, Beverly, Dennis, and Wilma.
He received the nickname “Hawk” early in his childhood by his siblings that they still use today. He attended Clarence Cannon Elementary School which was established in 1879. The population size in Elsberry was roughly 1,400 people during his childhood so his elementary school peers were comprised of just about every school-aged student in the town.
In 1950, he fell in love with a beautiful, young lady by the name of Charlene Stark who lived just 11 country miles down the road in Paynesville, Missouri. They wed when he was twenty-one years old on September 8, 1951. Five children were birthed from this union: Gloria, Gary, Kenneth, Debra, and Steven.
Shortly after their marriage, Kenneth enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War. He returned to the United States after suffering an injury during his military tour. Kenneth was then flown to Hot Springs, Arkansas to recover. According to his faith, and by God’s amazing grace, his mobility was restored and he learned to walk again.
In 1956, following his recovery, he moved his family hundreds of miles away to Omaha, Nebraska, to create a life for them the small, quaint farms of Elsberry could never provide. Having fully restored health and an insatiable appetite for prosperity, Kenneth began working as a butcher at Armor Packing House up until the corporation moved its plant to Minnesota.
After leaving his job as a butcher, he became a bus driver for the Head Start program and worked multiple jobs to make sure he provided for his family. Kenneth ultimately received a certification in pipefitting which became his life work until he retired from the Local 464 Union decades later.
Kenneth was thoughtful and eager to help those in need. This is a value he and Charlene shared. They loved to help people. It’s no wonder that one day when Kenneth was driving his school route, he stopped his bus to rescue children that were trapped inside of a burning house. His act of heroism even landed him in the local newspaper. Although this single act of compassion gained him community recognition, there were countless other acts of kindness no one ever knew about. So, this moment of recognition was orchestrated by the hand of God as he was rewarded openly.
Kenneth was married to his wife, Charlene, for more than 65 years until her transition in 2017. He was baptized in Jesus’ name and filled with the Holy Ghost at New Hope Apostolic Temple.
When he wasn’t working, he enjoyed gardening, horse racing, fishing, and playing with his kids. Kenneth was a fun-loving man who enjoyed flying kites and had a special liking for finding fun. Even during times when his monetary resources were strained, he always found a way to create some level of delight for himself and his family. He had worked hard throughout his life to ensure his family had a better life and went from living in extreme poverty to being a home, business, and property owner.
On January 23, 2022, Kenneth took his last breath. His smile, sense of humor, and quiet presence will be sorely missed. Even in death, his family remains blessed and appreciative of his life and legacy.
He was preceded in death by wife, Charlene Blair; son, Kenneth Blair; parents, Alberta and Lloyd Blair; siblings: Robert, Wilford, Stella, Lucille, Jeanette, and Manford.
Left to cherish his memory are his children: Gloria Rodgers; Gary Blair; Debra Foster (Lance); and Steven Blair (Addie) all of Omaha, NE; siblings: Betty Grimmett of Bowling Green, MO; Randolph Blair of Omaha, NE; Beverly Kelly of Springfield, IL; Dennis (Marceline) of Wentzville, MO; and Wilma Cooks (Paul) of Elk Grove, CA; sister-in-law, Allene Stark of Louisiana, MO; grandchildren: Dionne Blair, Teonne Clark, Deonne Wolf, Jeremy Jones, Kenneth “Junior” Blair, Teia Goodwin, Asenath Foster, Shawn Blair, Lance Foster, II, Stevie Stark (Mark), and Phillip Foster; host of great-grandchildren; cousins, and other relatives.