Obituary of Robert Blank
ALBANY - Robert H. Blank passed away peacefully on Monday morning April 30 at Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center in Albany at the age of 101. Bob was born in New York City on July 13, 1916, the son of Samuel Blank and Minnie Liberman. He grew up in the Bronx and completed his early education there. As a young man he discovered a love for the arts, especially literature, poetry, music and philosophy. He went on to complete college with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was there that he met his loving wife, Jeanne, and they were married in 1941, sharing a happy marriage until her death in 1997. Bob and Jeanne bore three children; Laurel Bryden (James) of Delmar, Paul (Annette) of Arcata, California, and Catherine who died in 1987. Bob is also survived by three grandchildren - Maya Makino and Gabriel Makino-Blank of Arcata, California and Paul Inglis of Pasadena, Md; two step-grandchildren – Rebecca Beiter of Delmar and Edwin Bryden of Albany, and seven great-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren, and many devoted and loving friends.
Bob was drafted at the start of WW II and served as a lieutenant in the Army Transportation Corps. In Jan, 1945, the liberty ship Jonas Lie that he was serving on was struck by a German torpedo and quickly sank into the waters of the Atlantic off the coast of England. Although he wound up in the icy cold water, Bob was a strong and experienced swimmer, and managed to make it to the lifeboat where most of his shipmates were already on board. They were rescued and returned to England to recuperate.
After the war Bob returned to New York City and went to work in his father’s freight auditing company, Public Service Traffic Bureau, going on to run the business for many years with his partner and great friend Bruno Leporati. At retirement he and Jeanne moved from their long-time home in Mt. Vernon, NY to Albany to be near family, living on South Manning Blvd. until 2015. In declining health, he eventually entered Daughters of Sarah, where he lived for over two years.
Bob was a man of numerous interests and loved to travel. Over the years he visited every continent except Australia and Antarctica and developed lasting friendships with people from many countries. He loved classical music, Broadway shows, and music from the 1930’s and 40’s. One of his greatest pleasures was listening to selections from his extensive collection of recordings. As a student of philosophy, he maintained his interest in the subject and participated in a number of groups that explored books, plays and movies. He was an active member of the Unitarian Society of Westchester and later the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (FUSA) and the Capital District Humanist Society.
A celebration of Bob’s life followed by a reception will be held at FUSA, 405 Washington Ave., Albany on Monday, May 21 at 11 AM. Those who wish may make a donation to FUSA in Bob’s memory.