George Mitchell Blair

Published 7:30 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

George Mitchell Blair died on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. He was born at the Suffolk home of his parents, Ossie Pearl Southern and Thomas Francis Blair, on June 21, 1942. George is survived by his wife of 50 years, Charnell Williams Blair.

George graduated from Virginia Tech in 1965 with a degree in civil engineering. His experience in the family construction business and his technical education prepared him to be immediately hired by Caterpillar Inc., in Peoria, Ill. Within two years, Carter Machinery Company, a regional Caterpillar dealer in Roanoke asked George to create a new position as training director for all their service employees. He went on to become the branch manager for the company in Bluefield, W.Va. George’s childhood dream of creating and owning his own business was accomplished first with Blair Brothers Inc., and later with New Horizons of VA Inc. George enjoyed solving problems of all kinds, especially those that required fabricating tools to accomplish a task but also problems involving businesses and organizations.

While traveling in California for Caterpillar Inc., George discovered snow skiing. He loved the challenge of the sport and exploring the ski areas around the world with Charnell. On June 28, 1970, George and Charnell bought a single-engine airplane and then learned to fly it on the small mountain airstrip in Fayetteville, W.Va. George went on to become instrument rated and multi-engine certified.

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George gained a passion for missions when his friends, Linwood and Brenda Cook, organized the Friends of Barnabas Foundation to send medical teams to the mountains of Honduras. He was a member of the board of directors and served as chairman for seven years. In all his activities, George’s great love was spending time with his family and friends.

The service for the celebration of George’s life will be at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in Main Street United Methodist Church, 202 N. Main St., Suffolk. Following the service, a reception will be held in the church atrium. The burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Friends of Barnabas Foundation, P.O. Box 4804, Midlothian, VA 23112. 804-744-5624.

R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk VA 23434 is serving the family. Condolences may be registered at