George W. Blankenship Jr., MD ended his struggle with Alzheimer’s on Sunday, July 26, 2020 at the age of 79.
George was born on November 21, 1940 to Dr. George and Arvada Blankenship in Boonville, Missouri.
After graduating from high school in 1958, George obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri. He earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in 1966, where he also completed a residency in Ophthalmology. George went on to complete a fellowship in retina disease and surgery at Washington University in St Louis. Following two years of service in the Public Health Service in San Francisco, George became Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and led its efforts in the management of patients with diabetic retinopathy for nearly 20 years.
In 1989 George become Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he served until his retirement. A highly respected leader in the field of ophthalmology, George served as President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and was a member of the American Ophthalmological Society, Club Jules Gonin, and The Retina Society.
Upon retirement from Penn State, he and his wife, Barbara, moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina. From 2006- 2017, George volunteered weekly at the Volunteers in Medicineclinic, serving the eye care needs of the medically underserved and their families who live or work on Hilton Head Island.
He is survived by his beloved wife 0f 54 years, Barbara, daughters Ellery Blankenship Damiano and Mary Ellen Blankenship, grandchildren, Mia Damiano and Michael Damiano, brother, Robert C. Blankenship, and sister Mary Ellen Blankenship Sims.
George was devoted to his family, which was his primary source of joy. He was a loyal friend who loved entertaining and making others laugh. George was a consummate gentleman who will be remembered for his kindness, positivity, integrity, and sense of humor. The world is a better place for having George in it. Those who knew and loved George take comfort in knowing that he is in Heaven with the Lord, Jesus Christ.