Harold Richard Blakesley, son of Ralph and Edith (Wallace) Blakesley, was born December 27, 1931 in Willmar, Minnesota, a middle child of six children. He graduated from the West Central School of Agriculture in Morris in 1948, and stayed to attend one year of advanced courses through 1949. Harold served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955, doing his training in Colorado.
On April 12, 1961, Harold married Marlene Patricia Bursch of Alexandria at the Presbyterian Church in Sisseton, South Dakota. Harold and Marlene raised three children: Donovan, Mark, and Patricia.
Dick, as he was known by many, began driving truck part-time for Midland Co-op in 1957. On his birthday in 1959, he was offered a fulltime position with Midland and drove truck for them through their merger with Land-O-Lakes Ag. Services. In 1987 after 30 years of service, Dick accepted an early-retirement package from Land-O-Lakes. After about six months, Dick realized he was not ready for retirement and began seeking other employment. In 1988, he began driving truck again, for Meyer's Transport of St. Cloud, and worked there until 1993. From 1994 to 1999, he spent summers working on the maintenance staff at Pilgrim Point Camp on Lake Ida just outside Alexandria. The camp is owned by the United Church of Christ, connected with the church to which Harold was a member.
Harold and Marlene joined the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Alexandria in 1972. He served as an usher and on various boards, including the Deacons and the Trustees. He played on the church dart ball team, helped with many church building maintenance projects and the annual silent auction. Harold was on the Board of Directors at The Senator, where he lived. He traveled with a church group on their yearly trip to a Twins game. He enjoyed gardening and watching both the Twins and Vikings. Up until 2014, he would drive to the southwest United States, Arizona and Nevada, to spend part of January and February away from the Minnesota winters.
Harold (Dick) Blakesley passed away on April 29, 2014 at the age of 82 in Alexandria. He was preceded in death by his wife, Marlene; both of his parents, sister and brother-law, Rachel & Willie Martin and sister-in-law, Janice Blakesley. He is survived by son and daughter-in-law, Don & Sherrie; son, Mark; brothers, Paul Blakesley and Donald Blakesley; sister and brother-in-law, Peggy & Wally Horning; sister, Mary Beyer; brother in-law and sister-in-law, Bill & Sharon Bursch; grandson, Dustin Blakesley; and grandson and wife, Ryan & Amber Blakesley. He is also survived by two great-grandchildren, Kayden Blakesley and Mariya Blakesley, along with many other extended family members, and close friends.
A memorial service was held on Friday, May 2, 2014 at First Congregational UCC with Reverends Scott Keehn and Mark Blakesley. Military Honors were provided by the Alexandria VFW Post 936 American Legion Post 87, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 235 and the Minnesota National Honor Guard. Interment was at Lake Geneva Cemetery in Alexandria.
Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria. www.andersonfuneral.net