In Memory of
Rev. Carl Edwin Blanford
白 輔 德 牧 师
June 17, 1922 – April 13, 2012
I was born on June 17, 1922, at Newport, Idaho, the oldest child of David A. Blanford and Agnes Keck Blanford. At the time, my father was working as a sawyer in the logging industry. He later worked in a lead and silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho, and after that was a furnace operator in an aluminum mill in Trentwood, WA. I had four younger brothers and a younger sister.
I attended grade school and middle school in Kellogg, Idaho, then attended high school in Post Falls, Idaho. During my high school years, I worked after school and on Saturdays at the local weekly newspaper office, The Post Falls Advance. I graduated from Post Falls High School as the valedictorian of my class in May 1939.
Through the introduction of a friend, I was accepted at Whitworth College in Spokane, WA, and given the opportunity to work my way through college working in the college print shop. I began with a business administration major, but changed to a Social Science major after deciding to go into the Christian ministry. I received a BA degree in 1943.
I entered Princeton Theological Seminary in the fall of 1943, and graduated in 1946 with an M.Div. degree.
At Whitworth College, I met Muriel Ausink, from Selah, WA, and we were married in Yakima, WA on June 14, 1946.
We applied to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church USA for service in China, and were appointed for China in January 1947. From July 1946 to June 1947, we served at the Calvary Presbyterian Church in Stockton, CA, a Japanese congregation. I was associate pastor, ministering to the Nisei section of the church.
After six months of Chinese language study at Yale University, we sailed to China in January 1948. Our assignment was to Hainan Island, but the mission decided that we should continue our Mandarin language study first in Peking, so we went directly to Peking and studied Chinese there until November 1948. It became evident that the Communist Army would soon take Peking, so we left and went to Hainan Island.
We spent the next two years on Hainan Island, continuing our study of Mandarin and beginning to learn the Hainanese dialect. The Communists took Hainan in April of 1950, but we remained there until January of 1951, when we requested permission to leave China. Our oldest son Bill was born in Hoihow, Hainan, on November 20, 1950.
We proceeded to Hongkong, where we waited for a transfer to Thailand. We arrived in Bangkok in May 1951, and were assigned to work with the Seventh District (Chinese) of the Church of Christ in Thailand. Our first assignment was to Hatyai, in south Thailand, to work with a Chinese church that had been started by a Chinese pastor from Malaysia in 1945, working with the Chinese Presbyterian Churches of Singapore and Malaysia. That pastor moved to Bangkok in 1947, and the church became part of the Chinese Presbytery of the Church of Christ in Thailand. At that time the population of the town was predominantly Chinese, and Mandarin was the common language. So I could immediately begin working in Mandarin.
I stayed in Hatyai until May 1963 (with furloughs in 1953 and 1959). Notable in those years was the number of Chinese young people who felt called to Christian ministry. About 20 of them attended Bible Schools and seminaries in Bangkok, Chiangmai, Hongkong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Many are still in active ministry at this time (1999).
Our second son Ron was born on furlough in Yakima, WA on Sept. 20, 1953. Our third son Mark was born in Hatyai on Jan. 7, 1956, and our daughter Miriam was born in Hatyai on Sept. 9, 1957.
In May 1963, I was asked to move to Bangkok as a temporary replacement for the Rev. Clifford Chaffee who was leaving for furlough in the US. This included interim pastor of the Sapan Luang Chinese Church and interim principal of the Bangkok Institute of Theology. Upon Chaffee's return to Thailand in May 1964, he continued as principal of the Institute of Theology, and I was assigned to pastoral work with the Sapan Luang Church.
Muriel was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 1962, and had a radical mastectomy that year, followed by radiation treatment. There was a recurrence of cancer in 1965 and she died in August that year. We had four children, three sons and a daughter. Muriel's mother, Mrs. Tracy Ausink, went to Thailand in March 1965, and lived with us during Muriel's illness. After Muriel's death, I asked Mrs. Ausink to stay in Bangkok and help me manage the household and care for the children, which she did until April 1968.
The Hatyai Church built a new sanctuary and Christian education unit in 1966. The Sapan Luang Church built a new middle school, which opened in May 1967. So those few years were a time of growth for the two churches I was connected with. I personally did much of the fund raising for those two construction projects. A third major construction project that I undertook with the Sapan Lung Church was a three-story addition at the front of the church property. This was completed in July 1972.
Through the introduction of the Rev. Peter Hsieh, Secretary of the Bible Society in Singapore, I became acquainted with Miss Lily Chia, of Malaysia, and we were married on April 25, 1968, at the Sapan Luang Church in Bangkok. Rev. Clifford Chaffee was the officiating pastor, and Mrs. Mary Chaffee sang at our wedding. Lily came from a Teochew Chinese family, speaking the same language as the people of the Sapan Luang Church. She was English educated, but also knew Malay and several Chinese dialects. We have two daughters, Carol, born in Bangkok on October 11, 1969, and Lois, born in Bangkok on October 28, 1971.
In January 1977, I received a call to become Senior Pastor of the Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church in Singapore. We accepted, even though it meant leaving the Presbyterian Mission organization, and going on local church support in Singapore. But the opportunity for ministry among English educated young people in Singapore was great, and the six years we had in Singapore were the most fruitful of my life.
In November 1982, the First Presbyterian Church of Seattle extended a call to me to become an Associate Pastor on the staff there. So I resigned from Prinsep Street Church in Singapore, and began ministry in Seattle in March 1983. I officially retired March 31, 1990, but continued in a part-time relationship as Pastor Emeritus until June 1999.
(Lily Blanford writes) We moved to Duarte, CA in 1999 to live at Westminster Gardens. After a few months of worshipping in different churches, Carl was asked by the Executive Presbyter of San Gabriel to serve as liaison to the Capstone Chinese Church and the Village Presbyterian Church. Carl’s duties were to preach once a month in Chinese and act as their advisor. It was very satisfying for him to encourage and walk with Rev. Bob Huang as he successfully completed his M.Div. degree, became ordained, and was called as Pastor of the Capstone Church. For the last eleven years of Carl's life, he had the privilege to baptize many converts into the family of God, the oldest being a 90-year old woman from Taiwan, China.
Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, pastor, teacher, guide, friend, and faithful servant of Jesus Christ went to be with his Lord and heavenly reward April 13, 2012 at 3:14 a.m. We will miss you so very much. You have fought the good fight, you have finished the race, and you have kept the faith.
"Like a farmer who sees his fruits well ripened and prudently hastens to gather them that they might not be the least bit spoiled, so dost Thou also, O Savior, gather Thy chosen ones who have labored righteously."
Grant rest, O Lord, to the soul of thy faithful servant, Rev. Carl Blanford.