Robert Blair Obituary, Part 4: The Story Teller’s Last Stories

Note: This post includes a photo of Robert Blair’s lifeless body in the last part.  If photos of dead bodies cause you anxiety, please do not continue. I have written the previous obituary segments in third person.  This one will be in first person.   In 2005, Mom and Dad were in China, where they had taught English for five years. Dad had lost most of the function in one kidney.  Now, the second kidney failed. All of us Blairs… Read more

Death of a Latter-day Saint

Embedded in this post is a youtube link to my father’s funeral.  This is something I would want everyone studying the Latter-day Saint faith to listen to as an example of what a Mormon life is or can be. My father, Robert W. Blair, was born Mormon, but was planted deep into his faith through associations with many religions and cultures.  His earliest experience of devotion happened after he viewed the Catholic film Bernadette, and, on his way home from the… Read more

Obituary for Robert Blair – Part 3: The Baltics

Robert Blair’s first mission call from the LDS Church sent him to Finland, a land far removed in every way from his home in Santa Barbara, California.  He became well acquainted with winter. When he arrived in Helsinki, he could look across the Baltic Sea and gaze at the somber lights of Estonia, which was now part of the USSR‘s expanse.  Russian was spoken there (though the Estonians resisted it), but Estonia was a world away.  No missionaries would be… Read more

Robert Wallace Blair Obituary, Part 2

The title for Robert Blair’s PhD dissertation could compete in “Most Impressive.” The title was Yucatec Maya Noun and Verb Morpho-Syntax. He himself forgot the title in his later years, and said, “What on earth does that mean?” when his daughter reminded him of it. Robert got his BA at BYU in English. He did not realize it at the time, but he was already headed into linguistics when he pursued his MA—again in English, but with a twist. He… Read more

Obituary for Robert Wallace Blair – Part I

Robert Wallace Blair passed away in his sleep on February 19, 2016 at age 85. Robert was born on September 25, 1930 to Wallace and Gladys Marguerite Green Blair in Santa Barbara, California. He joined his sister, Carolyn, in that family and lived a childhood filled with disciplined freedom. He trotted through Mission Oaks Lane on his horse (Jupiter), with his dog (Trixy) running beside him, and his goat (Bambi) bawling by her pen. He was Bobby in those years,… Read more

Jane Manning James: Her Life Story in Her Own Words

When I publish anything about Black LDS pioneer Jane Elizabeth Manning James, people from around the world express a desire to know more about her. Last night, I recorded her life story as she dictated it to Elizabeth J.D. Roundy. I have included photos from the last production of my play I Am Jane. It would have been nice to have one of Jane’s descendants do this recording, or to have a black voice artist. Since I have no money… Read more

We Tend to Resurrect in my Family

We have frequent resurrections in my family. My brother Bobby suffered a hip-pulverizing injury in 1982 when a stadium gate fell on his pelvis. The doctors did not think he would survive, and my mother called my dad from the ER waiting room: “Bobby is dying.” Dad ran to the hospital and into the room where his semi-conscious son lay. From the ganglia of tubes and wires, Bobby reached his arms out to Dad. “Hug!” he said. That was the… Read more

Risen and Rising

My fundamental belief as a Latter-day Saint is that we are continuously in process of either blossoming or withering, that our potential is infinite and our mortality only one phase of our eternal learning. I have often said that mortality is pre-school, in which we learn (or refuse to learn) the basic principles of the gospel—faith, repentance, forgiveness, charity. I believe that most religions espouse these virtues, and that eventually all will become one, with Christ at the head. In… Read more

Love Letters from China

The year I gave birth to my first child, my parents were in Mainland China.  I wrote about their experience here. I spent my fiftieth birthday (2005)  in Beijing and talked about various “long marches” in global history to my parents’ students.  I remember one student in particular–Sharon.  Dad told me that Sharon had converted to Christianity and was planning on doing some revolutionary things.  She was going to visit university campuses and read the New Testament aloud, positioning herself… Read more

The Call of Faith

It is January 3, 2016, and I am feeling nostalgic.  My mother died for fifteen minutes in October when her heart arrested as she was being wheeled in to the OR to have a pacemaker placed.  My father continues in his relentless but merciful decline–which has included several reprieves.  They are asleep, and I am doing the nighttime parent care–a measure we have taken to be sure they are safe.  (Indeed, I have had to call 911 twice.  Each has… Read more

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