Gerald D. Blankenship
Hall of Fame Coach Gerald D. Blankenship, 87 of Tulsa, formerly of Spiro died June 25, 2014, in Tulsa. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 1, at Liberty Baptist Church in Tulsa and 4 p.m. that day at the First Baptist Church in Spiro.How does a man become the world’s greatest Father? His life can be described by his own words: “You can always take your love for God and others to a higher level because God’s love is infinite.” His life was a clear testimony of his ever-growing love for Jesus and his family. He loved his players, students and church family with that same kind of love. He was married to Bea Floyd Blankenship for 52 years until her death in 2000 and then found love again for 11 years of marriage to Helen Tolbert Blankenship. Gerald grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father. His mother fled for safety in the middle of the night with Gerald, age 5, and his three brothers. He grew up in poverty with a loving godly mom who kept him in church and school. He excelled academically and athletically earning collegiate scholarships and becoming captain of the football and basketball teams at both Eastern Junior College and Northeastern State. He coached all sports at Vian and Spiro before becoming the principal and school superintendent at Spiro until his retirement. He reconciled with his father and introduced him to Jesus. He attributed everything in his life to the grace of God and he committed his life to be lived out to the praise of God’s glory. He served at Spiro First Baptist and then Tulsa Springs of Grace Bible.His love for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren became legendary. He is survived by his wife, Helen; sons, Rex and Vicki, Bill and Angie, Joe and Rosa, Mike and Tarre Strange; 21 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and one brother, Rucker Blankenship. He was preceded in passing by wife, Bea; his mother and father, Golsie and Joel Blankenship; his brothers, Dwight and Derwin Blankenship; a grandchild and three great-grandchildren; and brothers and sisters from the Floyd family. In lieu of flowers per Gerald’s request, the family ask that you consider a charitable donation to One Hope Vision, a nonprofit Sports and Education Training Center and Ministry, organized by his sons in his honor, dedicated to helping at-risk youth to stay and succeed in school. Donations may be sent to PO Box 470807, Tulsa, OK 74147 or to Bill Blankenship at Tulsa University Football Office or through PayPal at onehopetulsa.com. Services are under the direction of Grace Manor Funeral Home in Spiro.