Dan Dwayne Blair, Sr.

Dan Dwayne Blair, Sr., passed away December 12, 2020 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone, N.C.

He was born on September 5, 1931 in Gaston County and lived in Lowell, N.C., then after retirement moved to their home near Blowing Rock.

Dan was preceded in death by his parents, James M. Blair and Ola Monteith Blair, and an infant brother, Charles Dean Blair.

Survivors include Bette Neeland Blair, his wife of 67 years and whom he affectionately introduced to everyone as his “Bride”; son Dan Blair, Jr. (Kathy) of Garner, NC; daughter Kaye Phillips (Jim) of Dallas, NC; grandsons Jay, Adam, and Drew Phillips; sister-in-law, Sue Neeland Earnhardt (Jack Deckert); and several nieces and nephews.

After family, Dan’s primary love was ASA softball. He began umpiring in 1954 while in the Air Force and continued for the next 60 years. Even into his 80’s, he umpired 2-3 games a night through the Boone Rec Dept. Dan served as NC Umpire in Chief and as Regional Umpire in Chief for the Southeastern US for 25 years. He then served on the National Staff for 15 years as a National Deputy Umpire in Chief. Throughout his career, Dan instructed umpire clinics all over the US and conducted clinics three times in Europe.

As a result of his many years of hard work with ASA Softball, He received numerous awards. Dan was inducted into the NCASA Softball Hall of Fame in Burlington, NC in 1986, inducted into the ASA National Softball of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1993 and inducted into the Tennessee ASA Hall of Fame in 2015. He served as Umpire Coordinator for the 1999 Special Olympics World Games. A highlight of his career was serving as Umpire Coordinator for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Known for his outgoing personality and sense of humor, Dan never met a stranger. His favorite time of the year was Christmas when he could wear his sequin Christmas ties and put a smile on everyone’s face, especially the women! Dan loved to play golf in his later years and organized lunch and golf outings with friends every Tuesday.

He served 4 years in the US Air Force during the Korean War, and served 2 terms as mayor of Lowell in the 1970’s. Many people in Lowell have fond memories of visiting J.M. Blair & Son Grocery which Dan and his father ran for many years in the 1960’s. Dan served as Director of Human Resources at Smyre Manufacturing / Carolina Mills in Ranlo, NC for over 20 years.

There will be a graveside service at Woodlawn Cemetery in Blowing Rock on Thursday, December 17 at 2:00 PM, officiated by Dr. David A. Irish. Because of the dangers of Covid, we are unable to have the memorial service and tribute that Dan deserves. Therefore, we will have a Celebration of his Life when we can once again gather!

The family suggests memorials to NC Softball Hall of Fame, c/o Tony Laws, PO Box 1358, Burlington, NC 27216.

Online condolences may be shared at austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Blair family.

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