James P. Blair, 90, of Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — James P. Blair died in the comfort of his family on April 25, 2021, shortly after his 90th birthday on Earth Day weekend. He is survived by his wife Elise, his twin sons David and Matthew, daughter-in-law Lizanne, stepchildren Marijke, Bryan, Miriam, Norbert, Saskia and Scott, and many loving grandchildren. His first wife Patricia predeceased him.
From his earliest days growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa., Jim dreamed of photography and travel. After graduating from the Chicago Institute of Design, he began his travels with Naval refugee relief efforts in Korea and Vietnam. With innate talent and wonderful good fortune, Jim found his calling as a staff photographer at the National Geographic, where he worked for 35 years. His work resulted in nearly 50 published magazine articles and books, and his photographs came to be recognized around the world. He freelanced and taught photography workshops to aspiring photographers, had his work displayed in numerous galleries and exhibits, was honored with the Overseas Press Award, and gained membership with the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C.
Jim’s work sought to reveal the suffering and joy in humanity. A lover of all people, Jim found friends across the globe who shared his passion and loving spirit. A committed climate activist from before the time there was such a thing, Jim believed that the earth is our shared inheritance and a gift to be treasured and preserved above all else. Never one to miss a good meal or a fine glass of wine, Jim was known to eat up all the ice cream before anyone else had a chance.
His retirement in Vermont was as busy as his career days, filled with travel, photography, and spending time with family and grandchildren. He will be remembered as a loving, passionate and thoughtful man whose generosity of spirit lives on.
A small family service was held on April 27, 2021 and a larger memorial service will be planned in Middlebury, Vt., in late summer.
Condolences may be sent to Miller & Ketchum Funeral Home 26 Franklin Street, Brandon, Vt., 05733.◊
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