James Leonard Blankenship, age 74, of Wellston, went to be with the love of his life on Saturday, May 22. He was born October 25, 1946 in Jackson County, Ohio to the late James Curtis Blankenship and Gladys Mae Felty Blankenship. Jim was a 1965 graduate of Wellston High School and a certified electrician. Following graduation, he served in the Army during the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968. Jim was a coal miner to his core with over 40 years of experience. Over 30 of those years were spent at Racoon Creek Mine where he was a mechanic, electrician, and a true Jack of all trades. Jim loved the outdoors and going fishing with his wife, family, and friends every chance he got. He loved being a handyman, and he never ran into a problem he could not fix. One of his favorite sayings was, “If I can take it apart, I can put it back together”. Jim also never met a stranger, but if he did, they were not one for long. He loved to talk, laugh, and be ornery, although loving his family was his favorite thing to do, along with spending time together and making memories.
Jim is survived by his children, Janis (Troy) Shaw, Rene (Gilbert) Nichols, Michelle (Christopher) Conley; grandchildren, Zachary Conley, Emily Nichols, Kaitlyn Rafferty, Justin Rafferty, Levi Rafferty, Kelsey Conley, and Caleb Nichols; great-grandchild, Jansen “Punkin” Rafferty; sisters, Charlotte Mahle, Cheri Thompson and Angela Henry; along with several nieces, nephews, and close friends.
Besides his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his loving wife of 53 years, Donise Womeldorf Blankenship in 2020; brother, Daniel Curtis Blankenship; sister, Deborah Hatten; niece, Eryn Gay Thompson; and nephew, Randall Henry.
Calling hours will be Friday, May 28, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the McWilliams Funeral Home in Wellston. Funeral services will follow the calling hours at 5 p.m. with Pastor Rob Ervin officiating. In keeping with Jim’s wishes, cremation will follow the service and a private burial, with military honors, will take place at the convenience of the family in Salem Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to attend a dinner in Jim’s honor after the funeral service. The dinner will be held at Vinton County South Elementary School on State Route 93 in Hamden. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.mcwilliams-funeralhome.com