Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Donald Van Blake's memorial service Saturday

Buffalo Soldier Donald Van Blake with another WWII
veteran, Al Pittis. Memorial Day, 2016.

Plainfielders will have an opportunity Saturday to pay their final respects to their own Buffalo Soldier Donald Van Blake.

The memorial service for the man many knew as "Uncle Donald" and who passed away at age 96 in early June is being organized by Leanna Walcott. Van Blake served in the US Army's famed 10th Cavalry (the Buffalo Soldiers) during WWII.

Donald Van Blake was known to generations as a shop teacher at Hubbard School and a civil rights and community activist.

He was among the organizers of busloads of Plainfielders who attended the game changing 1963 March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But most of all, he was known and beloved as a tireless advocate for tennis among Plainfielders. The school district's Donald Van  Blake Tennis Courts at the Hub Stine complex were named in his honor.

Freeholder Rebecca Williams posted a moving tribute to "Unce  Donald" on her blog after his passing (see here).

The service will be at Shiloh Baptist Church on Saturday (July 14) from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Shiloh Baptist Church is at 515 West 4th Street (at Liberty Street). Parking is available on the 5th Street side of the church.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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