Ted Roosevelt Blankenship was born on October 25, 1932 in Chuckey, Tennessee. He left home and high school in 1949 to join the US Air Force and they sent him home when they realized he was only 17 years old. He really wanted to serve his country and was able to enlist in the US army in 1950 after begging his mother to sign the paperwork giving her consent and he did his basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Ted was then sent to the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia where he proudly became a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. In July of 1953 when North Korea, The United States and China reached an armistice South Korea did not agree and this created a 2-mile-wide demilitarized zone. The soldiers of the 82nd jumped into Kumamoto, Japan and made their way to Korea where they remained for over a year to keep North Korea from entering into South Korea.
In 1954 Ted was honorably discharged and returned to the United States where he traveled and worked for a few years before making his home in Belvidere, Illinois and marrying the former Louise Cox. They had 2 children Sunday Sue and Ted Ervin who have both since passed away. He was a valued employee of the Chrysler Corporation and retired after 25 years of service.
In 1991 Ted met and married Janet Rasmussen and gained children and grandchildren he adored. They moved to the mountains of Tennessee that he always considered home and was able to spend quality time with his sisters and extended family. Ted and his wife enjoyed many years of wintering in Florida, sightseeing all over the United States and visiting their children and grandchildren. Ted always loved music and could always find the time to brighten a child’s day with the tunes from his harmonica or play his guitar at church or in a band.
After seeing the world by air, land and water in 2013 Ted and Janet retired to Lake Wales, Florida and she happily became his constant care giver. In June of 2017 Ted was able to participate in the Honor Flight to Washington, DC. This was truly his very last flight as he passed away on April 10, 2018 after a courageous battle with cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Some of his ashes were scattered at the graves of his children and his final remains were laid to rest on October 22, 2020 at Mountain Home National Cemetery in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Eric Rasmussen proudly followed in his grandpa Ted’s footsteps and will retire from the 82nd Airborne Division in 2021.
Ted Roosevelt was a man that loved his God, his family and the United States of America!
Thank you for your service to our great country!