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Blaze, Francis L.
Mr. Francis L. Blaze, 85, Galesburg, died Monday, August 23, 2010 at Heartland Healthcare Center. Frank was born in Philo, Illinois, Champaign County on May 20, 1925, the son of Mary (Ackerman) and Harry Blaze. He attended St Joseph High School, St. Joseph, Illinois and was an accomplished multi-sport athlete. In 1943 he enlisted in the United States Navy.

Frank served in both World War II and the Korean War as a boatswain mate second class. He took part in the Murmansk Run and served as a gunner at the Battle of Normandy during D-Day in June of 1945. In 1953 he served on the U.S.S. Baltimore which represented the United States at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
On March 17, 1946 Frank married Marilyn Reese in Ogden, Illinois. In 1954 they moved to Galesburg where he worked in the Recreation Department for the State of Illinois Research Hospital. In 1960 he established the Blaze Landscaping Nursery. Frank was employed at various times by Monmouth College, Knox College and Sandburg Mall in the grounds department. While at Knox he worked with many collegiate players of the Galesburg Pioneer Baseball Team. Frank was also an active board member and former President of the Pioneers team.

Frank is survived by his wife and two children, Kathleen Marya (Cary) Brown and Jonathan Reese (Lisa) Blaze. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Elizabeth Margaret and James Alexander Brown, Rachel Barrick Blaze (Matt) Stoughton, Alexandra Kathryn and McKenzie Reese Blaze. Other survivors are sisters, Ruth Lowe and Margaret Dye, and sister in law, Ilse Blaze. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers; Joseph, Howard and Harry and sisters; Dorothy Willskey and Mary Blaze.
A celebration of life will be held at the Blaze residence, 1108 Dayton Drive, on Saturday, September 18, 2010 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. where a service of remembrance will be held at 2:00 p.m. with Pastor Michel Clark.

Cremation has been accorded. Burial with full military rites will be at the Abraham Lincoln National Veterans' Cemetery, Elwood, Illinois on October 8th at 1:00 p.m. Memorials can be made to the Defenders of Wildlife Foundation, 113017th Street, NE, Washington D.C. 20036. Arrangements and assistance have been provided by Hinchliff-Pearson-West Galesburg Chapel and Brown Funeral Home of Manteno.
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