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In Memory . . . David M. Blanchard (1932-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend David M. Blanchard died on August 18, 2008 following a fall and subsequent hospitalization at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  He was 75.

Rev. Blanchard was born on November 12, 1932 in Wilmington, NC, to the late Rev. Myles D. and Rachael (Wood) Blanchard.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1955 and his Master’s Degree in Theology from The Crane School of Theology, also at Tufts University, in 1958.

Ordination was conferred upon Rev. Blanchard by his father, Rev. Myles Blanchard, at the First Universalist Church of Assinippi in Norwell, MA on September 21, 1958.  Rev. David Blanchard was honored this year by the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association upon his 50th anniversary of ordination and fifty years of active service.

After his student ministry in Norwell, he was called to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn in Swampscott, MA, and St. Paul’s Universalist Church in Palmer, MA.  In 1965, he became the minister of the North Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of North Andover, MA, where he served until his retirement in 1997, when the congregants named him minister emeritus.  To celebrate his retirement, the congregation published a book of thirty of Rev. Blanchard’s sermons called "Reflections of a Suburban Preacher:  A Collection of Sermons.”  Rev. Lee Bluemel, current minister at North Parish, said that after his retirement, "David continued to quietly serve the congregation in many ways - visiting elders, preaching, and leading rites of passage for 11 more years.  It is hard to imagine the North Parish without his presence, his smile and easy laugh, his voice and wise counsel.  It was always so good to see him.”

Rev. Blanchard had a long career in service and volunteering to help others. He served as chaplain of the North Andover Fire Department, was one of the first members of the Samaritans, and was president of the Board of Family Service Association of Greater Lawrence.  He was also building chair for A Better Chance, a program designed to enable black youth from underprivileged areas to live and attend school in North Andover.  During the 1960’s, Rev. Blanchard organized a march against the Vietnam War in Lawrence, MA.

He enjoyed a variety of interests from gardening, fishing, golfing, travel, reading, writing, music and photography, but his greatest enjoyment was the time spent with his family.

Rev. Blanchard is survived by his wife, Joan (DesJardins), with whom he would have celebrated 51 years of marriage in September; two sons, David and his wife, Elizabeth (Driscoll) Blanchard, of Bradford, MA, and James Blanchard of Andover, MA; a sister, Carolyn Woodman of Florida; and several nieces and nephews.  He was the beloved grandfather of Shannon and Meaghan Blanchard of Bradford, MA.

Family and friends are invited to memorial services on Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the North Parish UU Church, Academy Road, North Andover, MA.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the North Parish Restoration Fund, 3 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845 or to Big Brother-Big Sister of Greater Lowell, 45 Merrimack St., Suite 227, Lowell, MA 01852.

Messages of condolence may be sent to Joan Blanchard at 163 Elm Street, Andover, MA 01810-1630; to Dave, Beth, Shannon and Meaghan Blanchard at 100 Haseltine St, Bradford MA, 01835-7726; and to Jim Blanchard in care of his mother's address. 

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