William Milton Blakely, Jr. ’63

William Milton Blakely, Jr., of Flat Rock, North Carolina, passed Monday, January 16, 2023. Born June 15, 1941, to the late William Milton Blakely, Sr., and Sarah Maslin Wells Blakely in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bill was eighty-one years old.

Bill earned his Bachelor’s in History from Davidson College and a Master’s in Counseling from Ball State University. Bill served his country in the United States Army in wartime and peace, in Korea, Vietnam, Okinawa, West Germany, and many stateside postings. After his military career, he continued protecting our troops and their families in the civil service as Safety Manager of Ft. Benning’s Martin Army Hospital near Columbus, Georgia, where he served with great distinction and once personally extinguished a fire that threatened the facility and its patients.

Bill was involved with Boy Scouts of America as a young man, attending jamborees across the world and achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He was a crack shot on the rifle team at Davidson, where his marksmanship earned him the nickname “Bullet.” He met his wife Juliette on a blind date in college and only left her side afterward when his country called. He was a member, Elder, and Deacon of Edgewood Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Georgia, and a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Flat Rock, North Carolina. Though his service years moved him and his family around the world, Bill remained a North Carolinian at heart, and he was thrilled to retire to his parent’s home in 2005 at Bonclarken Presbyterian Conference Center. Bill greatly loved western North Carolina, especially Hendersonville and Flat Rock.

Bill was a voracious reader of every kind of science fiction and history and was a Biblical history scholar. He was a strong defender of civil liberties, regardless of race, origin, gender, orientation, or creed, and he was a patriot. He was a proud Preacher’s Kid and Army Brat. He force-marched his three boys throughout Europe for the best childhoods they could imagine. Bill was a truly good man: gentle, kind, caring, patient, empathetic, and loving. The world is a better place because he walked in it.

Bill was a very devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Surviving him is his wife of fifty-eight years, Juliette Brown Blakely; sons, William Wells Blakely (and wife, Beth) and Robert Brown Blakely (and wife, Leigh) of Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Charles Jones Blakely (and wife, Linda) of Superior, Colorado; sister, Sally Shook (and husband, Gary) of Topeka, Kansas; grandchildren, William Evan Blakely, John Kevin Blakely, Kjersten Alise Gray and Katelynn Amanda Gray of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Matthew William Blakely and Sara Elizabeth Blakely of Lawrenceville, Georgia, Jack Coleman Blakely and Samantha Marie Blakely of Superior, Colorado; sister-in-law, Anne Cason Brown, of Greenwood, South Carolina; and nephew, Joseph Cason Brown, of Columbia, South Carolina, and nieces Lara Shook Murphy (and husband, Steve) of Topeka, Kansas, and Tara Shook of Kansas City, Missouri.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Presbyterian Church (900 Blythe Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina 28791).