Cover photo for Larry J. Blake's Obituary
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1948 Larry 2023

Larry J. Blake

March 7, 1948 — December 3, 2023



Larry Joseph Blake passed away peacefully on December 3, 2023

Larry was born on March 7, 1948, in Glendale, West Virginia, to his two loving parents, Joseph Blake and Hilda (Crow) Blake. In 1966, he graduated from Moundsville High School in Moundsville, West Virginia. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from West Virginia University and a Masters in Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). Larry married the love of his life, Deborah Marie Clarkson, on November 7, 1970, with whom he shared more than fifty years of love, commitment, travel, and adventure. Together they proudly raised their two boys, Jonathan and Jason, who later rewarded him with four adored grandchildren, Ryan, Joshua, Jonas, and Amaya.

Larry was honored to serve his country in the United States Air Force (USAF) for more than 23 years, first as an enlisted member and then as an officer, retiring as a major. During his military career, Larry made wide-ranging and lasting contributions, including: serving as an airborne radio technician during the Vietnam War; designing and constructing runways on USAF bases; working on the LGM-118 Peacekeeper (formerly the MX Missile) program; and serving at the Distant Early Warning Line in the northern Arctic region of Canada. In the final years of his military service, Larry taught graduate-level courses at AFIT and at locations worldwide, training USAF and foreign-national senior and mid-level leaders, managers, and engineers. His service took him from USAF bases in Germany, California, Texas, the Northwest Territories of Canada, to his retirement at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Following his retirement from the USAF, Larry utilized his extensive military experience and civil-engineering expertise to begin a second career with higher education. Larry led the facilities-management departments at several universities and colleges, where he oversaw the construction, management, operation, and maintenance of the schools’ buildings, grounds, and systems. Larry was honored to work at: Sinclair Community College (Dayton, Ohio); University of North Carolina, Fayetteville (Fayetteville, North Carolina); and finally at Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, Kentucky), where he happily retired from his second career.

Larry is survived by his wife, Deborah Blake; his sons, Jonathan Blake (Karen) of Johns Creek, Georgia, and Jason Blake (Elana) of Charlotte, North Carolina; his grandchildren, Ryan, Joshua, Jonas, and Amaya Blake; his sister-in-law Connie Caudill (Clarkson), her husband, John Caudill, and their children (and his niece and nephew) Jennifer and Johnny, of St. Albans, West Virginia; his beloved aunts, uncle, cousins, and other loving friends and family.

Larry will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and wished that, rather than have a formal funeral service, that his wife, sons, and grandchildren come together to celebrate his life.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Larry’s memory may be made to the American Lung Association at

To order memorial trees in memory of Larry J. Blake, please visit our tree store.

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