Capt. James Ernest "Ernie" Blanchard

MATHEWS - Capt. James Ernest "Ernie" Blanchard, age 56, of Port Haywood, died unexpectedly on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2004. He was preceded in death by his father, W. Boyce Blanchard; his mother, Mary Dunn Blanchard; and sister, Annette B. Freed. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Elizabeth M. Blanchard; his stepmother, Ruby Blanchard of Stanley, Va.; three sisters, Barbara Pitchford and husband, Robert, of Richmond, Betty Burton and husband, Leonard, of Callao, Va., Jeannine Blackburn and husband, William, of Troutville, Va.; three brothers, W. Boyce Blanchard and wife, Carolyn, of Rocky Mount, Va., Tim Lamb and wife, Debbie, of Newport News, Va., Jerry Henry and wife, Judy, of York County, Va.; and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. Ernie served his country as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart while serving with the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. Following three years of service with the Newport News Fire Department, Ernie joined the James City County Fire Department where he has served for over 27 years advancing to the rank of Captain. Ernie received several unit citations and awards of merit while with the J.C.C.F.D. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16, at Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Mathews, Va. The family will receive friends 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home, Mathews, Va. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the I.A.F.F. Burn Fund, c/o James City County Fire Department, 5077 John Tyler Highway, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

Published in the Daily Press on 1/14/2004.

Ernie was one of the finest men I have ever known. He taught me so much about fighting fire, being tough, and taking care of people. What a wonderful mark he has left upon us all.
My thoughts are with you, Betsy, & the JCCFD family.
Martha (Simms) Mikell (Hampton, VA ) - January 19, 2004
Betsy, our best wishes are with you. Ernie was greatly loved by everyone here at station 2 A-and by everyone in the county. We will miss him very much. We will never forget him!
Lots of love, station 2 A.
Amy Insley (Williamsburg, VA )  - January 17, 2004
Dear Blanchard Family,
I was sorry to hear of yet another loss in your family when Amy called on Monday. You have been in our thoughts since that call and we pray you are finding the strength to get by by day.
You are a strong family. Just continue to hold on to each other and trust in God. You will be in our prayers.
Jamie and Emily, we love you.
Nana Barbara, we are so sorry, take care of yourself.
Amy and Donna, stay strong and trust in the love of your family.
We love you all.
Randy, Leah, Renee & Hunter Ashworth
leah ashworth (mechanicsville, VA )  - January 17, 2004
Dear Betsy,
I am deeply saddened to hear of Ernie's passing. He was one of my favorite people on the planet.
i will never forget our long friendship and the many great times we had, from when I was 19 and he was that cool 26 year old fireman.
He was surely one of my heroes.
Much Love Betsy.
Shakshober Jack (Boston, MA )  - January 16, 2004
Dear Betsy;
I'm so sorry to learn of the loss of Ernie. He was such a wonderful man and I will miss him so much. Although his physical body isn't with us now, everything that Ernie did for us is in our hearts and will keep him with us forever.
I wish I could have been there for you today but I'm back now and will be in touch early next week.
Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and I will be with you through this tough time. If you need anything, don't hesitate to call.
With love and deepest sympathy, Carol Schenk
Carol Schenk (Yorktown, VA ) - January 16, 2004
My heart breaks to hear the news of Ernie's death. I first met Ernie 25 years ago when I was eighteen years old and joined the County Fire Department as an auxiliary member. He was an inspiration to me, and a lot of who he was and what he taught me, by his example, went into making me the man I am today. I am thankful that I knew him. I know the deep love that he had for you will live on, as he will live on in your heart and the hearts of all of us who knew him. Scripture says this, "greater love hath no man than this, that he would lay down his life for a brother." Ernie taught me to put my fears aside and to go into the fire. Ernie was the one who taught me the true meaning of that verse. You remain in in my prayers.
In Christ, Ronnie Maness
Ronnie Maness (Rutledge, TN ) - January 16, 2004
News of Ernie's death reached me today and carried me back to Grove Avenue in Richmond, where he was like an achor to a little VCU community. He knew then how to have fun without losing sight of what mattered, and it's clear that he continued that forever. I'm so sorry that "forever" came so soon!
Rhonda Zingraff (Raleigh, NC ) - January 16, 2004
The world will have less laughter without Ernie. We met at William and Mary in 1969. Ernie was full of fun and made everyone feel special. Everyone was disappointed when he transferred to VCU. I lost touch with Ernie, but he has never been out of my thoughts. I send my sympathy to his wife, family and friends.
Michele (Pongratz) Donithan (Baltimore, MD ) - January 16, 2004
Dear Betsy and Family,
My friend Steve Wall called me tonight to tell me about Ernie. I remember you, Betsy, and Ernie from the Richmond days of the 70's. My heart goes out to you all. I send my Love to you. Ernie was an amazing person in my life and in many lives. He will be greatly missed.
Jude Tolley
Jude Tolley (Los Angeles, CA ) - January 15, 2004
I have a lot of good memories about Ernie during our days together at NNHS. He was a lot of fun to be around and I know he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire family.
Ron Smith
Ronald Smith (Newport News, VA ) - January 15, 2004
There are no words to express the grief I feel with this loss. Ernie was not only one my closest friends, but was very much a father to me. I take comfort knowing that with all the lives he touched, and all the incredible good he did for all, that Ernie will indeed live forever.
Ur Yara Sol
Maha Locsme Namostutae
Tony Bradley (Richmond, VA ) - January 14, 2004
Barbara and Family...So sorry to hear about Ernie...You are in our thoughts and Prayers.....
Much Love
Bobbie & Wayne Nicely (Doswell, VA ) - January 14, 2004
My Uncle Ernie was the most awesome man I have ever known...he could always make you laugh...when you wanted to cry & happy just from talking with him!! He is my youngest son's namesake James "Jamie Pie" & my Godfather.
My husband Steve passed away suddenly in July 2003, and hope that Aunt Betsy will do better than I am...please pray for her & visit my sister said...he loved his nieces to pieces...May God Bless All Of His Firefighters...he thought of them as "his boys"
Ann Marie Ashworth (Glen Allen, VA ) - January 14, 2004
I worked with Ernie & Bud back in the late 60's for his father, Boyce. Although I had not seen him for quite a long time, I'll always remember his wonderful personality and sense of humor. My sympathy goes out to Betsy & Bud and all the rest of his family.
Randy Elder (Newport News, VA) - January 14, 2004
We are remembering you and your family and friends in our prayers during your loss.
Love, Suzy (Norman) Bacher
Suzy Norman Bacher (Dothan, AL ) - January 12, 2004
We are deeply saddened that Ernie is no longer with us. Our memories are filled with many hours of laughter and good times that we shared with Ernie. We will always count him as one of our TRUE friends. Ernie will always be remembered and Betsy will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
Wally and Linda Possich
Wally and Linda Possich (Frankfort, KY ) - January 12, 2004
May the peace of Christ be with you.
Skip & Lucy Dunford (Grottoes, VA ) - January 12, 2004
Casey Martin (Princeton, WV ) - January 12, 2004
Dear Betsy & Family, We were saddened to learn this morning of Ernie's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I had seen him a few weeks ago in Food Lion and he looked good and quite happy. My brother John called after he had seen the death notice in the newspaper. I am off from work this week and we should be able to make the funeral when it is announced.
Much love, Jim & Pitta Pat
Jim & Pitta Pat Dunn (Williamsburg, VA ) - January 12, 2004
My Uncle Ernie is and always will be a GREAT man. His love for his family and friends was felt by everyone who knew him. God has chosen a wonderful person to make into an Angel. He will be sadly missed but never forgotten.
Much Love,
From one of his nieces who he loved to pieces.
Donna Renee'
Donna Springfield (Newport News, VA )  - January 12, 2004