Don Blanchard


January 18, 1939 - September 4, 2021


Don Lee Blanchard, 82, passed away on September 4, 2021 at his home in Cedar City, Utah. He was born on January 18, 1939 in St. Anthony, Idaho to Laura Jean Murdoch and Charles Angus Blanchard. He was the third of six children, and grew up farming in nearby Chester. After graduating college, Don moved to Cedar City, Utah in the fall of 1964 to teach Technology at the College of Southern Utah (now SUU) where he met his wife, Linda Lee Woollard. They married on December 18, 1967 and enjoyed 54 years together with their four children, eight grandchildren, and close extended family.

Don served in the Idaho National Guard and completed an honorable mission to Northern California for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He attended Ricks College, BYU, USU, and earned a Doctorate of Education from Arizona State University. Don devoted his 40-year professional career to building the Technology Education department at SUU. He was Teacher of the Year in 2002 and served as department chair twice.

Don was an extremely social and service-oriented man. He served in many callings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints including High Councilor and Temple Worker, but his favorite was teaching others as a Family History Consultant for more than 25 years. He was a charter member of the Cedar Valley Lions Club and served as President four times. Don was appointed to the Iron County Merit Commission and served for ten years assisting the Sheriff’s Office with hiring and rank advancements. He was President of the Cedar City Radio Control Club for six years. He received Community Emergency Response Team training and served as the Iron County Emergency Communications Coordinator. Friends and colleagues were always welcome in the Blanchard home. Don was famous for cooking Dutch oven chicken, pizza from scratch, and his family’s secret-recipe meatballs which appeared annually at their New Year’s Day party.

Don served for decades in the Boy Scouts of America. He began as a Scoutmaster in 1984 and eventually received the 2nd Miler, District Award of Merit, and Silver Beaver awards and was active in the Order of the Arrow as a member of the staff for many camps. He received advanced training at Woodbadge and passed on that leadership training to Boy Scouts through the Timberline course. He was invited to participate in training at Philmont Scout Ranch and was honored to be invited back as an instructor the next two years.

Don was an avid hobbyist, and he often incorporated service into his recreation. He was the first SCUBA instructor at SUU. In addition to vacation dives, he also helped recover drowning victims. He taught his children to ski while serving with the Volunteer Ski Patrol at Brianhead. He enjoyed woodturning and donated handmade ornaments to the Festival of Trees. At various points in his life, he pursued wood carving, carpentry, silver casting, gold panning, astronomy, photography, flying drones, water skiing, etc. He especially loved hobbies which combined building and technology such as radio control model airplanes and 3D printing. However, his first love was amateur radio.

Don has been known by his call sign WA7GTU for over 50 years, and he remained an active HAM operator until days before his death. Don was instrumental in building, installing, and maintaining a network of repeaters now known as the Intermountain Intertie System comprised of 23 continuously linked repeaters in five states. Don’s was a friendly and familiar voice on the airwaves, especially on the Beehive Utah Net where he often served as net control. He served as Vice President of the Utah VHF Society for 22 years and obtained non-profit status for the club.

Don is survived by his wife Linda and children David (Jamie) of Finksburg, Maryland, Duane (Alisen) of Snoqualmie, Washington, LeeAnn of Baltimore, Maryland, and Darin (Jamie) of West Valley, Utah. Don’s grandchildren Chase, Madelynn, Morgan, Mason, Sydney, Ashton, Henry, and Chandler will all miss him dearly. Don’s two surviving sisters, Jo Anne Gardner (Randy) of Washington, Utah, and Marlene Floyd of Washington, Utah, and sister-in-law Lois Overton of Colorado Springs, Colorado are grateful for his kindness and support throughout their lives.

Funeral services were held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located in Enoch, UT. Interment was a private ceremony in Ashton, Idaho.

Flights of angels sang him home.

Deptember 4, 2021

This morning at about 11:00AM, I dropped by the home of my good friend Don Blanchard, WA7GTU, to pick up some equipment he had requested that we pick up to use for the Utah VHF Society. I was very saddened to hear that he passed away peacefully at his home with family members present earlier this morning. I spent some very special moments with his family and assisted his daughter, Leeann Blanchard, KU7GRL, announce his passing on the Beehive Utah Net as it began today.

Don has devoted significant part of his life helping hundreds if not thousands of individuals learn about electronics and how to become an amateur radio operator. He was responsible for setting up one of the earliest repeaters, if not the first, in Utah. His repeater was issued the first FCC repeater call sign WR7AAA in the seventh call area. Working with repeaters became his passion for amateur radio setting up repeaters and keeping them on the air, he played a key role in establishing the Intermountain Intertie system many of you have used and enjoy. He has assisted with input to almost every repeater in the state of Utah. He has served as the Vice President of the Utah VHF Society for over twenty years and provided many significant contributions to the Utah VHF Society.

Don was one of the original members of the Beehive Utah Net and served for many years as one of the net control offices managing this ARRL Traffic Net. All the members of the net knew and respected Don. He was always there ready to help and assist.

We have lost a giant of a man and I know he will never be forgotten.

We will all miss Don

Mel Parkes, NM7P

President Utah VHF Society