Richard A. Blake, a decorated Army veteran and retired employee of the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, died Tuesday in Garden Gate Health Care Center, Cheektowaga. He was 88.
Born in Buffalo, he was a graduate of Technical High School. During World War II, Mr. Blake served in the Army in the European Theater of Operations as a combat paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. He was among the paratroopers who landed in Normandy on D-Day. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Conspicuous Service medals, among many other awards for his military service.
Upon his discharge from the military, Mr. Blake attended Erie County Technical Institute, forerunner to Erie Community College. For 38 years, he was employed with Erie County in the planning division, first as a draftsman and later as a county planner. He retired in 1984.
Mr. Blake was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Alhambra for more than 50 years. He served as Grand Knight of the Bishop Burke Council 5284, as well as district deputy and chairman of the Board of District Deputies. Mr. Blake was twice selected as Knight of the Year of his council.
As a decorated veteran, Mr. Blake accompanied family members a couple of years ago on a trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
His wife of 50 years, the former Pauline M. Tasner, died in 1998.
He is survived by a daughter, Carleen Blake Ryan, and a son, James.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in Nativity of our Lord Catholic Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park.