James Albert Blair, Jr.

  • Born: October 21, 1932
  • Died: July 23, 2020
  • Location: Universal City, Texas

Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232

Tel. (210) 495-8221

Tribute & Message From The Family

Colonel (Retired) James Albert Blair, Jr. passed away on July 23, 2020 following a long and happy life. He was born Oct. 21, 1932 in Pittsburgh, PA to Dr. James Albert Blair and Florence Jethro (Newman) Blair. Jim and his brother Sid were raised in Pittsburgh and on the family farm in Plumville, PA. He attended Peabody High School, then the Univ. of Pittsburgh where he joined the Air Force ROTC program. He also met and married his wife of almost 50 years, Jean Ann Newman, while attending Pitt. From there, Jim went to pilot training and had a 26+ year military career as a pilot, instructor and administrator in the USAF. Among his many commendations were three Legion of Merit Medals and the Air Medal. Jim traveled the world and finally retired in 1981 at Randolph AFB near San Antonio, Texas.

Jim then started his next endeavor, Blair's Repairs, and continued to build and repair things into the early 2000's. In 2003, Jean passed away, and Jim married his second wife of almost 16 years, Eleanor JoAnne Dance Dyer, in 2004. Unfortunately, Jim developed Alzheimer's and spent the last year and a half in assisted living memory care where he lamentably succumbed to complications due to Covid-19. Special thanks to The Landing at Stone Oak for their care of Jim, and to Jonathan Reyes for his devotion during the last few months of Jim's life on earth.

Jim loved life itself. He loved both his families, his dog Bailey, flying, building things, fishing, sports--particularly the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers and the SA Spurs, singing, traveling the world, playing bridge, going to the beach, AND, of course, his ice cream! He was a member of and sang in the Universal City United Methodist Church and the Alamo Heights United Methodist Church choirs.

He was an eternal optimist. To Jim the glass was neither half full nor half empty. It was always full, and he would drink every drop of whatever it contained, only to refill it again. He loved people and would talk to anyone he met, always ready with a compliment for the ladies. He lived out his faith with joy and hope. Jim had a long and interesting life and will be missed by all who knew him.

Jim is survived by his second wife, Eleanor JoAnne Dance Dyer Blair; his brother, Sidney Blair and wife Jean; three daughters, Karen Ward and husband Philip, Deborah Cowan and husband Mark, of North Carolina, Victoria Ammerman and husband Brian of Texas; and one son, James N. Blair and wife Bonnie of New York; seven grandchildren, Katie Covington and husband Ben, Laura Martin and husband Daniel, and Kelly Ward all of North Carolina; Cassie Ammerman of New York, Wes Ammerman and wife Amanda of Washington, DC, and Carly and James M. Blair of New York; and 4 great grandchildren, Noah and Connor Covington and Lucas and Ian Martin all of North Carolina.

Jim is also survived by members of JoAnne's family; two children, John Dyer and wife Kathryn, and Amy Dyer; three grandchildren, Rebecca and Andrew Dyer and Kaetlyn Acuna; and one great grandson, Sebastian Acuna, all of Texas.

Colonel (Retired) Blair will be buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. The service will be livestreamed on Monday, August 17, 2020 at 11:30 a.m. on the Porter Loring Website, www.porterloring.com. Go to "Obituaries", select "James Blair" and scroll to the livestream link near the bottom.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations may be made to your local church or food bank.

While he will be forever missed, we are grateful that Jim has finally "slipped the surly bonds of earth" and can now "touch the face of God."

For those who would like to view the recorded service, please follow the link:

Condolence & Memory Journal

I didn't realize until I started working on Papa's obituary what a complex, yet simple man he was. He was complex in that he was able to do so many things, but simple in his belief in God and his upbeat, optimistic view of life. No matter what, he truly believed that everything would turn out alright. He achieved a lot in his 87 years. Was he perfect? No, he was not-he was a perfectionist, and often would expect others to measure up to his standards. He was competitive-okay-extremely competitive-and really didn't like to lose-whether it was playing baseball, racquetball or bridge. When we were little, he wasn't around a lot, as he was often on alert or TDY in some far away place. But when he was home, we loved to wrestle on the floor amidst lots of giggles. We will miss you Papa for your sunny countenance, your love of people and your love of life. Daughter #3, Viki

Posted by Viki Ammerman - The Woodlands, TX - Daughter   August 20, 2020

So thankful to have known Jim through the Universal City United Methodist church. In our eyes he was a gentle man and a gentleman. Our sincere sympathy to his family. As a retired Air Force family the AF poem means a lot and we truly feel Jim has touched the face of God.

Posted by Bill and Cheri Austin - Charlotte, NC - Friend   August 17, 2020

So many fond memories of Uncle Jim. I know how much my mom, Pat, appreciated his help when he was in the area. He would spend a day at our house doing his "Blairs Repairs". Stuff that would have never gotten done without his help. I also remember that he was the ONLY one in the family that was allowed to drive Grandma Newmans' car. I can't ever recall a time that I saw him angry. He was always upbeat with a smile on his face and a kind word. It was so wonderful to be able to join the services online and thank you for giving us that ability. My thoughts, prayers, and all my love to my cousins and everyone else that was family or a friend to my Uncle Jim.

Posted by Jami Sullinger - PENN RUN, PA - Family   August 17, 2020

I love you PapaBear! You and mom will be together once again. Debby

Posted by Deborah Cowan - Cary, NC - Daughter   August 17, 2020

You will always be in my memories Mr.Blair.It was worth every minute I spent with you next to you in your comfy chair and bed. Putting you lotion on your feet. Getting you ready for the day. I will Always miss saying,"Good morning; Mr Blair ,Happy day!! :);he always smile when I said it. Going to our own field trips within the facility.I thank you for always been so nice to me (NEVER GAVE ME A HARD TIME, NOR A BAD FACE NOR MADE ME FEEL BAD}. You're a great man and you knew it. Thanks God for letting me stay there for you in the lasts days for you and the family. You were blessed to have someone next to you in these difficult times. You always liked knowing that you're family and daughters and son cared for you. I can go on and on but the words are limited here. As I said last time I was there with you. I know you couldn't open your eyes much but you heard when I said,"we all love you and care for you",you smiled. And took a big nap after that,with that music you loved and that peace that only God can give. I'm glad to know that you were always in peace and now you can truly enjoy peace next to Jesus Christ. We will always love you and miss you. My friend ,my family, my nice and noble man. R I.P.

Posted by Jonathan Reyes - San Antonio, TX - Friend   August 16, 2020

I miss you papa. Love, Son

Posted by Jim Blair - Ithaca, NY - Son   August 15, 2020

Jim, papa to my kids, was very good with them as he taught them how to fish, along with his own grandchildren. He even bought them all their first rod and reel in 1988. Lots of good memories and I know he lived a full life. Jon and Janell Huggins

Posted by Jon Huggins - The Woodlands, TX - Friend   August 13, 2020

Our thoughts and prayers are with our extended Blair family. Much love, Dave,Julie, Corey and Maggie Blair

Posted by Julie - State College, PA - Family   August 11, 2020

I am sorry to hear of the loss of my long time friend, Jim. He was always such a positive person with a big smile. I enjoyed our years of sharing the Spurs tickets discussing the games. I am glad he has escaped that horrible disease and can now visit with all his friends that have gone before him.

Posted by Robert Shelby - San Antonio, TX - Friend   August 10, 2020

We have known Jim Blair since 1958 at Westover AFB, Mass. and he was one of the kindest and sweetest person we have ever met. Since then we have traveled together and visited each other too many times to count. We treasure each memory. Our hearts go out to his children and JoAnne.

Pat and Dori Helms

Posted by Dori and Pat Helms - Highlands Ranch, CO - Friend   August 10, 2020

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