Obituary of David Blair
David William Blair of Princeton, New Jersey, died on July 15, at the age of 88.
Beloved husband, father and grandfather, David was born in Santa Barbara,
California, October 5, 1929, and grew up an only child on his parents’ angus cattle
ranch in Wimer Rogue River Valley, Oregon. David was educated in a one room
schoolhouse and persuaded to go to Oregon State University where he earned a BS,
then on to Columbia University earning a Masters and PhD, all three degrees in
Mechanical Engineering, accompanied by several academic honors. David taught at
Columbia as a teaching assistant, instructor and associate adjunct professor.
Fresh from Oregon, David met Rosemary Miles of Brooklyn, New York, where they
were both studying at Columbia University. They were married in 1954, a union that
lasted 61 years until Rosemary’s death in 2015. In 1958, they moved their growing
family to Princeton, New Jersey, where David was a research associate at Princeton
University. In 1962, the still growing family moved to Norway for David’s
postdoctoral fellowship at the Royal Norwegian Council for Industrial and Scientific
Research. They left with four children, returned with five and were joined by a sixth
two years later. David worked at Exxon Research and Engineering in their corporate
research and government labs. Following a 14-year tenure in the Exxon Labs he
founded the company Princeton Scientific Enterprises, an R&D organization
specializing in high temperature technology with particular expertise in
combustion, high temperature chemistry, combustion generated air pollution, high
temperature energy transfer and energy conversion. He holds numerous patents in
this area. His company, PSE, received one of the first U.S. Army Ballistic Research
Laboratory awards for Exceptional and Significant Work Performed on th BRL
Mission. He was published widely on the subject of high temperature combustion
David served on Princeton Township Committee for a decade, the Princeton Civil
Rights Commission and many other community groups. He supported and
participated in his wife’s environmental activities and endeavors including the
founding of the D & R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton, New Jersey. He pursued
his lifelong passion to further just causes wherever the opportunity arose. Forever
proud of his roots in the Oregon mountains, David embraced Princeton and the
opportunities it gave his boisterous family. An enthusiastic conversationalist, he was
always ready to impart hard-earned backcountry wisdom on animal care, tree
felling, hunting, motorcycles, camping and outdoor endeavors of all sorts to his
friends, children and associates.
In 1962 David and Rosemary took the family and dogs on a road trip/house swap to
Nova Scotia, returning every summer thereafter and settling in Bayfield, a
community they, their children, and now grandchildren, hold close in their hearts.
One of David’s favorite places was on the deck overlooking the bay in Nova Scotia
with a Lamb’s rum in his hand. David is survived by his children, Karen (Tom) Horn,
Barbara Blair, Maria (Eric) Belliveau, Amanda (Peter) Nichols, David (Bernice) Blair
and Rachel (Terry) McGregor. He delighted in his sixteen far-flung grandchildren,
Ben, Amos, Kate, Henry, Philip, Willie, Lucy, Blaire(Kenny), Zach, Becca, David, Edie,
John, Norah, Sam and Charlie.
David will rest at the Mather–Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Ave. Princeton,
New Jersey. Visiting hours are 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 20. A funeral mass
will be said on Saturday, July 21, at the Princeton University Chapel at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the D & R Greenway Land Trust in
Princeton, New Jersey.
40 Vandeventer Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08542
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