Victor L. Blanchet

Victor L. Blanchet

Victor L. Blanchet

BERNE — Victor L. Blanchet was a rugged individualist.

“He was well read. He liked to philosophize. He was a deep thinker,” said his nephew, Robert Blanchet. “He never had a bad word to say about anything … The word that describes him best is ‘unique.’”

Mr. Blanchet died on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at the Greene Meadows Nursing Home in Catskill. He was 93.

He was born in Albany, the son of the late Andrew and Regina DuBruy Blanchet, and he lived in the area all his life. His father was a finish carpenter and cabinet maker, and his mother was a homemaker.

His parents, who were French Canadians, spoke Québécois. They settled first in Albany and then moved to the McKownville area of Guilderland where Victor was raised.

Mr. Blanchet went to school through the eighth grade and left home young, traveling as far as California. He was drafted into the Army during World War II and served from 1945 to 1947.

For years, said his nephew, Mr. Blanchet lived on Thompsons Lake “in a camp at the end of the lake. He was a rugged old-timer.”

Among the qualities that made him unique, his nephew said, were he didn’t have a television, he didn’t eat processed food — “nothing out of a box” — he heated only with a wood stove, he smoked a pipe for 80 years — filled with Bugler cigarette tobacco — and he never saw a doctor.

“After his physical, discharging him from the Army, he didn’t go to a doctor for 60 years. Not once,” said his nephew. “He wouldn’t take any medicine.”

Robert Blanchard said he and a lot of other people would chop wood for his uncle to keep him warm in the winter.

“He did his own thing. He had various odd jobs,” said his nephew. “He never went with the flow. He did things his own way.”

He went on, “I never remember him without a beard, and he always wore a cap.”

Mr. Blanchet would read books about history and geometry. “He was really into geometric shapes,” said his nephew.

His nephew believes Mr. Blanchet’s eschewing processed foods and living a rugged lifestyle helped keep him healthy throughout his long life.

“He was only sick the last five or six months,” he said. “He was as stubborn as they come.”

His nephew concluded, “He put little value in material things or money. He was an old soul.” 

****

Victor L. Blanchet is survived by his sisters-in-law, Marion Blanchet and Jeanette Blanchette; by his brother-in-law, Kenneth Helm; and by many nieces and nephews.

His sisters, Regina M. Helm, Beatrice Czwakiel, and Annette Phelan, died before him, as did his brothers, Leo Edmund Blanchet and Theodore “Al” Blanchette.

The Blanchet family extends its heartfelt appreciation to Kimberly Conway “for all of the assistance and kindness she extended to Victor over many years.”

Due to restrictions caused by the current virus pandemic, services cannot be held in the family’s church that would accommodate all family and friends. Services are being postponed in the hope that all can gather in the future to remember him.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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