St. Peter had better get a bourbon and Coke ready, because Paul is on the way.
Paul H. Blanchette, 84, died Wednesday evening, Aug. 1, 2018, at Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Ill., following a lengthy battle with cancer and other illnesses. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Marilyn; son, David (wife Kathy), of Jacksonville, daughter, Paula Buckley, of Glen Ellyn, and son, Daniel (wife Rubelyne), of Jacksonville; six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Those who knew Paul for years, or those he just met, were treated to the same copiously embellished tales, big smile and the ubiquitous Paulco logo pen.
Paul grew up in a crowded, lively home in Kankakee with his mother and father, Edmond and Anna; brothers, Willard, Albert, Eugene and Leon; and sisters, Dorothy Reardanz, Patricia Morris, Judith Baker and Emily Christensen. Only his youngest sister, Emily, survives.
Paul graduated from Kankakee High School and got his parents to sign a special permission document so he could enter the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and serve during the Korean War and in Japan from 1951 to 1954. He became an officer with the Kankakee Police Department, rising to the rank of sergeant, and served in that capacity until 1966, including as a K-9 officer, where his lifelong love of animals was solidified. Paul was always intensely proud of his Marine Corps and police service.
Paul then began a long career in various sales positions, first at Baker & Taylor Co., of Momence, and then with Permabound Books in Jacksonville, where he relocated with his family in 1972. He was the area manager for Buckeye Gas Co. and sold insurance for Del Jarman Insurance Co. Paul also worked for the Department of Central Management Services for several years in Springfield. He was introduced to the concept of logo ink pens during his years as a salesman, and there are now untold thousands of Paulco pens floating around the world, a vestige of his sales career that Paul only abandoned after handing a pen to a hospice nurse days before his death.
Paul was married to the love of his life, Marilyn, whom he met when a mutual friend set them up. Paul and Marilyn were loving and supportive parents to their three children and remained close to them their entire lives, setting for them an admirable example of marital commitment and family dedication.
For many years, Paul and Marilyn thoroughly enjoyed winter vacations at their condo in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and made many fast friends there. Later, when health issues precluded their beloved annual Mexico trips, Paul dedicated his life to taking care of Marilyn until they both needed care they could no longer receive at home.
Paul was a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1379 and American Legion Post 279 in Jacksonville and was a member of the Jacksonville Moose Lodge.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, at Buchanan & Cody Funeral Home in Jacksonville. The family will meet friends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., prior to the service. An interment ceremony at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, gifts are suggested to the Audubon Society or the Morgan County Animal Shelter. Condolences may be left at buchanancody.com.