Walter E. Blankley, age 84, passed away peacefully on April 27th in Naples, Florida.
Walt led a full and generous life. The son of George and Martha (McCord) Blankley, Walter was born in Philadelphia. An exceptional student and athlete at Collingswood High School, he graduated as Valedictorian, captained (and was high scorer of) the basketball team and was later inducted into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame. It was at CHS that he met his wife of 61 years, Rosemary. Upon graduation, Walter attended Princeton University where he played Varsity Basketball, was a member of Cannon Club, and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, Walt joined AMETEK, Inc, a $5 billion in sales manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices, where he worked for over 40 years. He concluded his successful career at AMETEK as Chairman and CEO. In 2001, Walter and Rosemary retired to Naples, Fl.
A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, the unwavering love and partnership of Walter and Rosemary was the foundation of everything he did. While working, Walter was also cheering on his family at swim meets and water polo games, coaching Rosemary’s women’s basketball teams, and attending as many other special events as possible. Family holidays and vacations were important to Walt. He never stopped trying to find ways to get the family together while focusing on their enjoyment – not his own. Walter’s final Christmas was spent on a family cruise.
As successful as he was, Walter will be remembered mostly for his wisdom, intelligence, integrity, values, generosity and (of course) his love of his family. He remained humble, never forgetting where he and Rosemary came from or how lucky they were. He had many passions. He was a voracious reader. His love of basketball continued – he even invested in the minor league basketball team The Florida Flames. After retirement, he took up competitive duplicate bridge which he played with Rosemary, friends and even his daughter. He adored cars and spent the last decade of his life proudly driving a Bentley.
Walter was a proponent of education – especially reading. A constant learner himself, while CEO, he oversaw the funding of early childhood education programs in all of the 65 cities around the world where AMETEK maintained sites.
Continuing their commitment to education, Walter and Rosemary focused on the Guadalupe Center in Immokalee, FL, whose mission to “break the cycle of poverty through education” mirrored Walter’s beliefs. The Center helps the children of migrant workers navigate learning and enables many of them to go to college. In 2013, the Blankleys established the first Endowed Chair at Arcadia University, Rosemary’s alma mater - designated for the School of Education. They were also the driving force behind Arcadia’s transformative student-centered partnership with the Guadalupe Center. The first of 20 “Blankley Scholars” (all of whom came from the Guadalupe Center) graduated from Arcadia in 2016.
Among his many distinguished awards, Walter was elected the President of the Aluminum Extrusion Council, given the Guardian of Democracy Award by the Anti-Defamation League, honored as Philanthropist of the Year (Naples), and inducted into the Guadalupe Center’s Wall of Fame.
Walter is survived by his loving wife Rosemary (Deniken); his children Stephen (Marie) and Laura Pantano (John); and grandchildren Andrew and Stephanie Blankley.
Due to the pandemic, the funeral at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Naples will be postponed until October. Details will be sent to family and friends at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Walter’s memory to Guadalupe Center, 509 Hope Circle, Immokalee, FL 34142 or Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Ln, Naples, FL 34105.