Len Everette Blaylock, 93, a patent sinner saved by the grace of a living Savior, departed this life on Sunday, March 25, 2012, to take up an eternal residence with family, friends, and a host of the great and small in the Promised Land. He was born December 8, 1918 in Little Rock to Minnie Sarah Jane (Bradford) and David Penn Blaylock. After graduating in 1939 from North Little Rock high school, Len, like many of this “greatest generation”, was motivated to enlist in the armed forces to serve his country by the disturbing events preceding World War II. He retired as a major after 20 years in the Air Force where he earned the wings of a gunner, gunnery officer, and bombardier, and in 1960 completed a degree from Arkansas Polytechnic College in Russellville. Len wore many career hats, working as a store owner, cattle rancher, school teacher and principal, until, after witnessing, first hand, the abuses of “machine” politics against local citizens, he became an avid crusader for a two-party system. He worked as a fieldman to help elect Winthrop Rockefeller in 1966 as the state’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
Under this administration Len was hired to successfully reorganize the troubled state welfare agency and was its commissioner throughout Rockefeller’s tenure. In 1970 he received recognition from Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew for Arkansas being the only state whose newly established Medicaid program hadn’t gone broke.
In 1972 Len left a position as Regional Representative for Welfare Reform with Health, Education, and Welfare in Dallas to return to state politics and run unsuccessfully against popular incumbent Governor Dale Bumpers.
In 1975 he was appointed U. S. Marshall of Eastern Arkansas by President Gerald Ford and served 3 years. He was Campaign Coordinator for Frank White’s successful gubernatorial race in 1980 and, in his administration, was in charge of job appointments for state government. In 1985 Len stepped up to serve as co-chairman of the state Republican party achieving the goal of restoring its financial solvency.
In retirement Len continued to be active as deacon, Sunday school teacher, and song leader in his church, Nimrod Baptist, and to work with the local Republican party. He served for 10 years as member and eventual President of Perryville School Board. For leisure he enjoyed many hours in the air flying his Cessna plane, making excursions with his good friend R. D. Lemons.
Besides Len’s active professional life, he is remembered for his zest for life, family, friends, and fellowship and for his sense of humor. Together with his sweetheart and wife of 70 years, Melba, their home was the gathering place most weekends for a host of family and friends. Len was never too busy to “stop and smell the roses” much to the delight of the children and grandchildren in his life who were influenced by his infectious enthusiasm for church, farm activities, and for beautiful music. Many summers as a hobby he and his grandchildren raised delicious ‘Black Diamond’ watermelons for Little Rock Farmers Market, roadside stands, and for friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his three brothers, Curtis Leo, David Harold, and William Donovan; and his three sisters, Martha Elizabeth (Bettye) Sutton, Mary Louise Shamburger, Emma Nell Anderson, and his sister in law, Dora Catherine Rogers.
Beloved survivors are his wife, Melba Winona; his four sons, David Robert (Suzi) of Coolidge, Arizona; Len Everette Jr. (Luanne) of Maumelle, Arkansas; Melvin James (Mary) of London, Arkansas; Dale Alan (Vickie) of Greenbrier, Arkansas; and one daughter, Betty Louise Freeze (Mike) of England, Arkansas; 19 grandchildren, Robert Lane Blaylock, Matthew David Blaylock, Jenna Rochelle Blaylock, Kimberly Margaret Craig, Len Everette Blaylock III, Jonathan Denton Blaylock, Alan Eugene Hageman, Susan Ann Veasey, Kevin Ashley Blaylock, Wesley James Blaylock, Hannah Louise Blaylock, Donald Grant Metz, Sheena Marie Leavell, Megan Danielle Metz, Rachael Lori FreezeRamsey, Kelly Micaela Freeze-Summerside, Nathan McKenzie Blaylock, Heather Lynn Aich, and Heath Wayne Beatty. Other cherished survivors are the grandchildrens' spouses, 23 great grandchi1dren, 4 great-great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at Nimrod Baptist Church. Family will receive friends at Nimrod Baptist Church on Tuesday, March 27th from 6 to 8p.m. Burial will be at Nimrod Cemetery under the direction of Humphrey Funeral Service.
Born: December 8, 1918
Place of Birth: Little Rock, AR
Death: March 25, 2012
Place of Death: Little Rock, AR
This memorial provided by:
Humphrey Funeral Service