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Paul Leslie Blanton

March 4, 1930 May 22, 2022
Paul  Leslie Blanton
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Obituary for Paul Leslie Blanton

Paul Leslie Blanton, died at his home in Spokane, Washington, on May 22nd from complications due to cancer. He was 92 years of age.

Paul was born on March 4, 1930, in Pasco, Washington, and had a unique childhood. He received his Eagle Rank in the Boy Scouts at the young age of 12 and was congratulated in a letter by President Roosevelt in 1942. He learned to fly airplanes when he was 14 years old by taking flying lessons at the Pasco Airport with money earned from his paper route. His parents did not know about his secret adventure until he did a solo fly by while they attended church services. He also grew to love music as a child, influenced by his mother Jessie, a concert violinist. As a teenage union member, he played the trombone for various dance bands that would travel through the Tri Cities during WWII.

While attending the University of Idaho in 1952, he entered the Korean conflict as a US Navy Air Intelligence and Photo Interpretation Specialist based on Whidbey Island. He flew Lockheed PV-2-7 Neptune’s during his time with the Navy and later DC-3s with West Coast Airlines. Returning to the University of Idaho in 1955, he graduated with a BS degree in Architecture in 1957 and in 1963 earned his M. Arch with Distinction from the University of California (Berkeley). Paul and his first wife Mary, moved to Spokane where he obtained positions with two outstanding architectural firms, Walker, McGough, and Trogdon Architects, and McClure and Adkison, Architects. In 1972, he worked with Dr. Frei Otto in Munich, Germany, developing prototype steel lattice dome structures and membrane roof structures for the Munich Olympic Games. He accepted a Professor of Design position with the Department of Art and Architecture at the University of Idaho where his career flourished, and he became the first dean with the newly formed College of Art and Architecture in 1981. During the same year, he met the newest interior design faculty, Cindy Blue, and formed an enduring friendship. They would marry in 1985.

His many achievements included being named to the College of Fellows, (FAIA) American Institute of Architects, with national recognition as an outstanding architect and educator. In 1981 he received a grant to be the first Fulbright Scholar in Saudi Arabia at the University of Riyadh and was appointed as an advisor in architectural planning and education to the University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dharan, King Faisal University. With more ambition to follow during his deanship, he structured a program in Rome, Italy, called The Idaho/Rome International Studies (IRIS) program. IRIS functioned for five years and became the catalyst for many summer programs to follow in areas of Architecture and Interior Design.

Dean Blanton retired early from the University of Idaho in 1990 to pursue a full-time architectural and planning practice. He and his wife Cindy returned to Spokane, Washington, where he joined the firm of Brooks, Hensley and Creager. He worked on international planning projects with Delta International, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, as the Vice President and Project manager which included projects in Baku, Azerbaijan, and Yangon, Myanmar. His last years were spent visiting his children and grandchildren, traveling with Cindy, enjoying fine restaurants, and listening to his audio books.

He is survived by his only sibling, John (Marilyn); his loving wife of 37 years, Cindy, and their children Terrence (Jessie) and Allen (Heewon); his children from his first marriage to Mary Harding: Mark (Kris Ann), MaryAnn, and Randall; two granddaughters: Callie (Tommy) and Ashley (Donny); and five great grandchildren: Jake, Brendan, Addie Rose, Elin, and Vivian. In-laws, Terry and Mary Blue; Terry and Dianne Sanchez; numerous nieces and nephews.

A Military Honors ceremony and Committal service for Paul is scheduled for 2:30 pm, July 15th at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery, 21702 W. Espanola Rd. Medical Lake, WA. A reception in Spokane at Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. Second, will immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to: Paul L. Blanton, FAIA Art and Architecture Scholarship Endowment, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Drive MS 3143, Moscow, ID. 83844-3143.

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