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Ashby O'Neal Blair

Little Rock, AR, 1923 - 2010

Ashby O'Neal Blair of Little Rock, died Sunday, December 5, 2010. He was born in Perryville, Arkansas on October 24, 1923 to M.L. and Opal Blair. After moving to Little Rock he attended Central High School. He married his high school sweetheart, Louise Roseman in 1944. During World War 2 Neal served 4 years in the Navy, and later during the Korean conflicts he served another 4 years. After returning to Little Rock, Neal joined National Cash Register (NCR) and then became an independent insurance agent for Farmer's Insurance. Neal pursued many interests with a passion during his life. For 51 years he was a member of the Immanuel Baptist Church Choir.
Neal took great pleasure in sharing his gift of singing at the weekly services and in special musical performances at Easter and Christmas, but one of his fondest moments with the choir was performing at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in Washington D.C. Neal was an avid Razorback fan, and for 48 years served as an usher for Razorback home games in War Memorial Stadium. He ushered every game but one in 47 years. An outdoor enthusiast, Neal was a member of a hunting club where he hunted turkey and deer and loved walking the hills of the Boston Mountains. He treasured his friendships with fellow hunting club members and his role as the camp chef. For 50 years Neal bowled on a Thursday night bowling league and was president of the league for 25 years. He enjoyed the sport and the fellowship provided to him over five decades and never abandoned his dream of a perfect 300 game. His love for music led to an extensive and varied collection of music, with a particular emphasis on the classics. His zeal for photography resulted in treasured memories of his family, friends and church members. He photographed every courthouse in Arkansas and many of the Capitol buildings in the United States. Neal pursued his talent as a craftsman by creating several cherished furniture pieces. Last year he volunteered his time to built cabinets for Terry Elementary School. Friends, neighbors and family members enjoyed heirloom tomatoes, a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers from the garden he and Louise planted each year. His appreciation for history and current affairs was pursued through extensive reading. His interest in electronics kept him current in the technology age.
Neal took pleasure in completing the crossword puzzle every day. He was a runner for several decades and enjoyed participating in local races where he won awards in his age group. In 2005 he was awarded the Amazing Sprit Award presented by Baptist Heath for active participation in the community and leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Neal and Louise water-skied, square danced, traveled, and enjoyed their family and special friends at Immanuel Baptist Church. Neal took immense pleasure in his children, grandchildren, and was especially proud to welcome seven great grandchildren over the past three years. He will be long remembered as loyal, caring, and spiritual; a man of great character and integrity. Neal filled each day with family, friends, his faith, a quest for knowledge, and song.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Louise Blair, a daughter Susan Hickman and her husband Jim, a son Steve Blair and his wife Susan; grandchildren Tracy Davenport and her husband Brad, Michael Roberts, Sarah McKelvain and her husband Nick, Andrew Blair and his wife Amber, and Jackson Ashby Blair; great grandchildren Kinley, Ava and Miles Davenport; Ashby and Hayes McKelvain; Hayden and Olivia Blair; a brother Bill Blair and his wife Sue, nephews John and Greg Blair, and a host of great nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock with Dr. Gary Hollingsworth officiating. In terment will follow at Pinecrest. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations to the Immanuel Baptist Church Choir. To sign Mr. Blair's online guestbook, go to

Published December 8, 2010

Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth
5800 West 12th Street, Little Rock, AR
Phone: 501-661-9111