It is with sadness and a deep sense of loss that we report the death of Richard J. “Dick” Blakinger on June 23, 2022, four days after his 100th birthday.
Dick was an exceptional lawyer. His keen mind and his pragmatic counsel on solutions to legal matters won him the confidence of his many individual and business clients. His style was calm and logical, never high-handed.
Dick was born and educated in the mid-west. After earning a B.A. degree from Cornell College in Iowa, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and lettered in tennis and wrestling, he earned his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1949. After law school, he worked for Senator Scott Lucas of Illinois, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, as a speech writer and research assistant.
In 1951, Dick moved to Lancaster to become General Counsel for the Hamilton Watch Company. Over the next two decades he held various executive positions with Hamilton, becoming President in 1967. He left the company in 1970 to begin practicing law in Lancaster with what became Blakinger Thomas, P.C.
Dick’s college years were interrupted by World War II when he served three years in the Army Air Corp, flying twenty-one missions aboard a B-25 in the Philippines. He achieved the rank of First Lieutenant.
In addition to being a busy lawyer, Dick was devoted to his family of five children and unless he was traveling, always made it home to dinner with their five children and his wife, Barbara, who predeceased him.
Dick was a committed and well-regarded civic leader in our community. He served on the Lancaster General Hospital Board and Boards of affiliated organizations of the hospital including the Lancaster General Health Foundation. He was a founding member of the Urban League of Lancaster County where he served as President. He was a director of the Lancaster County Historical Society. He was a trustee of Millersville University, a campaign chairman of the Lancaster County Community Chest (United Way) in 1967 and its President in 1959. More recently, Dick served as a Director of Hospice of Lancaster County, including a term as Board Chairman, and as its President in 1959. He was a member of the Lancaster Bar Association and the American Bar Association for over fifty years.
Dick was also an accomplished athlete. Along with his civic involvement, he was an accomplished tennis player. He was a nationally ranked player starting with the 65 and over age group. In 2002, he was ranked third nationally in the 80 and over age group. He was elected to the Lancaster County Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003. He was a long-time member of the Lancaster Tennis and Yacht Club and the Lancaster County Country Club and Hamilton Club.
A lifelong Catholic, Dick was a member at St. John Newman Catholic Church.
Dick’s legacy will be impressive and long lasting. Our world was better because of him. He will be missed.