Obituary: James R (Butch) Blanco
March 7, 1944 – August 14, 2021
Butch was born in Glenwood Springs on March 7, 1944, to Idella and Joe Blanco. He passed away at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction August 14, 2021. He grew up in Glenwood but moved to Salt Lake City for his senior year of high school and graduated in 1962. He then followed in his father’s footsteps and became a plumber and a volunteer firefighter in Glenwood.
Butch enlisted in the Army in 1964 and served in the 82nd Airborne. He was honorably discharged in 1967. He continued plumbing until 1988 when he was hired by the Bureau of Land Management as a wildland firefighter. He retired from the BLM in 2009.
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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Butch married Sharon Pilati in 1996. Through retirement, they enjoyed traveling and working together on their property. Butch loved being in the country, gardening, growing grapes, and making wine. His best wine-making friend, Eldon Thurston, passed away five days after Butch did.
Butch is survived by his wife, Sharon, stepson Gabriel (Wendy) Chenoweth, step grandchildren, Amanda, Melinda, and Melanie Chenoweth; step great grandson Kasen, who he adored and who adored him; brother-in-law Hank Ibarra; niece Stephanie Todd and her children, Kiana and Trevor. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Father Joseph Blanco, and his sister, Elizabeth Ibarra.
Butch requested that there be no memorial service. Instead, everyone is invited to a celebration of his life on Saturday, September 18 at the Glenwood Springs Golf Course from 3:30 PM to 6:00 PM. The event will begin with a brief flag presentation. The family requests that all attendees wear a mask.
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