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Joseph Rozier Blanchard – January 6, 1962 – July 14, 2022
Joe Blanchard (Waffle House Shirt) with his buddy Weasel preparing breakfast after a great duck hunt.
I am very sad to report that Joe Blanchard, passed away on July 14, 2022. Joe was a close friend, mentor, South Carolina Waterfowl Association Member of the Year and 25-year SCWA major donor. Most people knew him as President of Blanchard Machinery Company, one of the Nation’s leading Caterpillar dealerships. I knew him as a friend, hunting companion, and as one of South Carolina’s top community leaders who gave so much to SCWA and a very long list of other important charities.
I remember the first time I went to meet him at his office in Columbia. I sat in the lobby waiting for our meeting and watched six Blanchard Machinery employees walk by within a span of 10 minutes. Each person introduced themselves in a cheerful voice and asked me how they could be of service. Having witnessed the culture of the Blanchard Machinery team, I knew I was about to meet a great leader. As I entered his office, I became even more convinced, he held out his hand, and I noticed he was covered in poison ivy. I asked him, “what happened?” He told me he was working with fellow Blanchard Machinery team members to clear a lot for the construction of a Habitat for Humanity house. He then said, “I’m a dumbass for getting in to that poison ivy, enough about me, tell me about SCWA and how we can help your cause.” He listened intently as I shared the vision of SCWA’s Wildlife Education Center and our goal to provide youth conservation education programs to thousands of South Carolina youth. He liked what he heard and thus began 25 years of support that played a major role in helping SCWA to develop the nation’s largest Wildlife Education Center (WEC).
Joe not only donated significant financial resources to help build the WEC, he also donated thousands of hours of bull dozer, track hoe, motor grader, off road truck and agricultural tractor use which helped us to build the WEC and to manage hundreds of acres of waterfowl habitat on an annual basis. Whatever we needed to expand and improve habitat and facilities for our youth conservation education and youth hunting programs, Joe would always come through.
One of Joe’s favorite annual donations was the use of his 220 acres of duck ponds for the annual federal youth waterfowl hunts. For each of the past dozen years, 40 to 60 Camp Woodie campers would enjoy a quality duck hunt on Joe’s property. He took great joy in seeing the photos of smiling kids with their first duck. We duck hunted together many times at his property with friends and family. He was always more concerned about his guests having a great time than he was about his duck limit. He would always leave the blind early to check on the other hunters and then head to Kaki’s cabin so he and his buddy Weasel could start preparing breakfast. He would hold court at breakfast time, taking great joy in giving everyone including me a hard time. If he wasn’t teasing you he didn’t like you. I know when I get to heaven he will have breakfast ready and a great one liner waiting for me.
Joe Blanchard loved his family, his fellow man and his country. His children, Rozier, Boyd and Katherine were the pride and joy of his life. He was a man of great integrity and action who crammed 120 years of living into 60 years of life. His was a life well lived, a life that made this world a better place for his fellow man and our wildlife resources. Everyone at SCWA will greatly miss Joseph Rozier Blanchard. The SCWA family wishes to extend our condolences to his wife Melissa and their entire family.
-CEO David Wielicki