Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Sunday, June 01, 2008 at 05:26:09 :
Friday, July 15, 1977
J, WALTER BLAIR, 73, former supervisor
Former Marin County Supervisor J. Walter Blair died yesterday at his Mill Valley home after a lengthy illness. He was 73.
Blairís long career included work as an electrical engineer and officer in the Arizona Edison Co., private business and government work.
In recent years, he operated a string of launderettes, laundries and cleaning establishments in Marin until selling the business about a year ago.
In 1960, he defeated incumbent county supervisor Vera Schultz and served a controversial one-year term before becoming in 1961 the only Marin County Supervisor in modern times to be recalled.
Peter H. Behr, now state senator, defeated him by 747 votes in a heated election, which featured debates over Blairís proposal to eliminate the county administratorís office and his vote to halt work on the Marin County Civic Center.
When it was found the new civic center could not be converted to a hospital, as Blair proposed, work resumed in 1961.
Blair was a native of Trinidad, Colo., and earned a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Arizona.
He worked a year for the United Sugar Co. in Mexico and then 11 years with the Arizona Edison Co., serving as district manager and chief engineer over all the companyís properties and also as vice president for the firmís Mexican subsidiary.
For three years, he headed the J. Walter Blair Petroleum Co.
During World War II, he worked with the War Production Board, first in the Arizona district office and then as director of civilian requirement for the Western states in the San Francisco office.
He moved to Marin County in 1943.
He served two years with the War Assets Administration as director of disposal of war surplus material in 11 Western states before going back into private business, serving as secretary-treasurer and general manager of the cleaning organization for many years.
Although Blairís brief term as a supervisor was his only stint in public office, he was active in many civic and fraternal organizations.
He was a member of Mill Valley Masonic Lodge, Phoenix Scottish Rite Bodies, Islam Temple of the Shrine, Marvelous Marin High Twelve Club and was president of the Marin Shrine Club.
He also served 12 years on the board of directors of the Marin County Council of the boy Scouts and three years as trustee of the Mill Valley Community Church.
Blair is survived by his wife, Edithe A. Blair of the family home in Mill Valley; a daughter, Edithe Ann Mills of Larkspur; a son, James W. Blair Jr. of Rey, N.Y.; two sisters, Hazel Blair of Los Gatos and Eula B. Park of Los Altos; and two grandsons.
Masonic funeral will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Chapel of the Hills in San Anselmo. Burial will be private.
The family prefers memorial contributions to Hospice of Marin, the American Cancer Society or the Shrinersí Hospital for Crippled Children in San Francisco.
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