Langley pioneer Doris Blair passes away

Doris Blair, a longtime Langley volunteer and wife of the late Township mayor Bill Blair, has died. She was 95.

Blair was born in Richmond, where her family had a farm, but in 1923 when Doris was four, the family moved to a 160-acre dairy farm north of Cloverdale, on what is now 176th Street.

Doris was the second youngest of seven children, and would ultimately outlive all of her siblings.

After high school in Surrey and New Westminster, she helped out on the family farm, bottling milk, doing the bookkeeping, and helping drive her father after he was diagnosed with a heart condition. She would continue to drive, her family said, until she turned 94, when she voluntarily decided to stop.

She met her husband Bill Blair at high school dances. Her school had more girls than boys, and Bill Blair was one of the young men who came to help even out the numbers. They married in 1941, and the pair moved to Langley.

Bill Blair built a small two-bedroom house on his 216th Street family farm opposite the airport. They had seven children, Doug born in 1942, Jean in ’43, Jim in ’44, John in ’47, Terry in ’50, Gordon in ’53, and Richard in 1958. Born with spina bifida and fluid on the brain, Richard died aged five months.

Doris joined the Evening Circle of Sharon United Church in 1950, which became known as the Jara Unit in the 1960s, and she remained a member all her life. She was president of the Unit three times, and of the Sharon United Church Women twice, and kept attending United Church services until she was hospitalized in August.

Doris was also involved with the Native Daughters of B.C. and the Langley Heritage Society.

In 1961, Bill Blair ran for Township council, and served for 20 years before successfully running for mayor in 1981.  

Doris supported him at many public events, and enjoyed attending the Union of B.C. Municipalities meetings, as she would see more parts of the province.

Bill died in office in 1985. Doris missed him deeply, but carried on with her life. As she and Bill had loved travelling, she continued taking trips, including many to Australia to visit her son Terry.

She remained in good health and kept her mind sharp, reading many books and involved in activities, up until the last month of her life.

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