Richard Patrick Blair, 58, of Martinsville, Va., passed away peacefully, Friday, May 3, 2019, at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
Patrick was born of the late Barbara Ann Foley at Martinsville Memorial Hospital on March 6, 1961, and was promptly adopted by a loving couple, the late Luther Rhodes and Doris Huckaby Blair, also of Martinsville.
He graduated Martinsville High School, and within 2 years he had earned his commercial pilot’s license and went on to graduate Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics.
After enlisting in the United States Army, through diligence and a strong desire to reach his full potential, he continued his training and became ‘one of the best’ Apache pilots. He gained an exemplary record of successful, completed missions, earning many awards, medals, and commendations; such as the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal, the Army and National Defense Commendation and Service medals, the SW Asia Service Medal w/ Bronze Service Star and numerous other accolades.
Patrick served as an instructor at the U.S. Army’s “War College” providing graduate-level instruction to senior military officers to prepare them for senior leadership assignments and responsibilities and very much enjoyed sharing his knowledge and 1st hand experiences to help prepare others. Many of his fellow pilots looked to him as a mentor even years before before taking this post.
Patrick was both an OH-58A/C Scout Pilot and an AH-64A Apache attack pilot. He was deployed overseas for several years to Korea, Germany, and various Middle Eastern locations during the Gulf War. He was a member of the 3-101st Aviation “Blue Max” regiment. As he rose in rank, he also served as an AH-64 Standardization Instructor Pilot.
In 2007, he retired honorably out of Fort Rucker, AL, as a Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4) after a career spanning more than 30 years. He then returned to his childhood home here in Martinsville Va., and reconnected with family and friends.
In addition to his parents, Patrick was preceded in death by his brother, “Tony” Anthony Clell Blair. Those left to honor his memory include his daughter, Lara Blair Keatts and her husband Justin Keatts; grandchildren, Sophia Blair-Chisom and Lyric Thomas Keatts; sister, Lisa Foley Ellis-Shooks; cousins, Anna Donahoe Mick and Vickie Binstead; nephew, Michael Anthony Blair; girlfriend, Cindy Watts; and his extensive military brethren.
A visitation for Chief Warrant Officer 04 Blair (retired) will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Monday, May 13, 2019 at McKee Stone Funeral Home. A graveside service with full military honors will follow at Oakwood Cemetery.
Flowers in military appropriate color preferred.
Arrangements are by McKee-Stone Funeral Home-Martinsville, Va.