James Thomas Blakey peacefully passed away on September 3, 2021 in New Braunfels, Texas at the age of 91.
A native of Kentucky, he was born to James Washington and Vera Waddell Blakey on August 18, 1930. His family home was in Rowletts and teen years in Cave City, Kentucky. He was on the Cave City High School basketball team, attended Western Kentucky University as a member of the ROTC and graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry. In 1969 he earned his Master of Science Degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Georgia and completed an additional 24 hours of graduate course work beyond from the MS. In 1956, he attended Squadron Officer School; 1960 completed Academic Instructor course; 1969 Air Command and Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Services.
He was commissioned as a Distinguished Air Force ROTC Graduate in May 1952, and assigned to Wright-Patterson AFB as a chemist. After completing a Research and Development Command Orientation course, he was assigned to Pine Bluff Arsenal USA, Arkansas. There he met and married Hazel Marie Wyatt, and they began their 68 years together.
His next assignment was to Eglin AFB, Florida in 1954, where he served as a Chemist, Personnel Officer and Adjutant. In 1956 he was assigned to Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, where he served in Military Transport Command Units as Personnel Officer, Squadron Commander and Assistant Wing Adjutant.
Returning to the United States in 1960, he was assigned to the University of Georgia as Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies. Duties during this assignment included instructing four years of the AFROTC curriculum, Detachment Administrative Officer, Commandant of Cadets, Advisor to the Arnold Air Society and Angel Flight, and Area C Advisor to the Arnold Air Society. Colonel Blakey was a Charter Member of the Arnold Air Society at Western Kentucky University. While at the University of Georgia, he helped establish the Athens, Georgia Toastmasters Club and was a Charter Member.
His next assignment was to Maxwell AFB, Alabama in 1965, assigned to the Communicative Skills Division, Academic Instructor and Allied Officer School. In addition to duty as Wing Advisor, he was a guest lecturer at the Air Command Staff College, Squadron Officer School and the CAP Officer Course.
In 1969 he was assigned to Randolph AFB, Headquarters Air Training Command, Inspector General’s Office as Educational and Training Inspector. During this time, he developed the concept for a Headquarters ATC Technical Training Standard Evaluation Team. He was assigned to the DCS Technical Training in 1972 to establish and direct the Technical Training Standard Evaluation Team.
His next assignment was to Iran in 1974 as Commander, Training and Special Programs Team, Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT). The duties included Advisor to the Iranian Air Command and Staff College and Advisor to the Commander, Iranian Air Training Command.
He returned to the United States in 1976 as Chief of Education Training Inspection Branch, Inspector General’s Office, Headquarters, Air Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas. This was his last assignment before retiring in 1980. His military decorations and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Outstanding Unit Award. His publications include “In Search for Ideas”, “USAF Instructor’s Journal”, “Developing Ideas That Work”, and “Analytical-Chemical Study of Wood Charcoal”, Thesis, University of Georgia.
The family settled in New Braunfels in 1976. After retiring in 1980 from the Air Force, James taught Chemistry at New Braunfels High School. James and Hazel were active Band Booster Club Members with James serving a term as President. James was also a Second Degree Mason with the Park City Masonic Lodge, Kentucky. He received his Kentucky Grand Lodge 60 year Service Award in 2014 at the New Braunfels Masonic Lodge in New Braunfels, Texas.
James was a dedicated and loving family man. He loved football and basketball, especially the Spurs. He was exceptionally skilled at woodworking, making cabinets, cedar chests, tables, book and decorative shelves, and his specialty was designing wall and standing clocks, making one for every family member.
Our memories of the wonderful times with family and friends will live in our hearts forever and will be a source of joy with loving memories of husband, father and grandfather.
James was preceded in death by his two sisters Louise Farris, husband Walter, Elizabeth Franklin, husband Wayne, and his brother Charles Blakey, wife Margo, of Cave City Kentucky.
James is survived by his wife of 68 years, Hazel, daughters Deborah (Debi) Elaine Blakey of New Braunfels, Cynthia Ann Blakey, husband Frederick Suppe of Muncie, Indiana, son James (Jimmy) Thomas Blakey II, wife Lori, and three grandsons, twins Thomas Alan and James Austin Blakey, and Ryan Wayne Ball of Houston, James’ nieces Nancy Wills and Family, Virginia and Carole Ann Alster and family, Kentucky.
A family service with Military Honors will be held at Fort Sam National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family sincerely appreciates donations to the charity of your choice. The Blakey family expresses a very special gratitude of appreciation for our dearest friends for their love and support, to Hope Hospice of New Braunfels and Lux Funeral Home during this difficult time.