Richard Blan­chard

Whole­sale toy busi­ness owner later oper­ated va­ri­ety shops in Re­hoboth, Del.

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jacques Kelly

Richard E. Blan­chard, a whole­sale toy busi­ness owner who later oper­ated a trio of pop­u­lar Re­hoboth Beach, Del., va­ri­ety shops, died of mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure Nov. 17 at Gilchrist Hos­pice Care in Tow­son.

He was 92 and lived at the Ma­sonic Home of Mary­land in Cock­eysville.

Born in Bal­ti­more, he was the son of Sa­muel Blan­chard and his wife, Al­ice El­lis. He lived on Kirk Av­enue near Waverly.

He was one of 10 chil­dren and his mother felt he would ben­e­fit by singing in a church choir.

“She felt it would be a good dis­ci­pline,” said his daugh­ter, Jayne Blan­chard of Bal­ti­more. “He also had a beau­ti­ful voice and he loved to sing in church.”

Along­side his brother, Wal­ter, he sang at Grace and St. Peter’s Epis­co­pal Church on West Mon­u­ment Street un­der the di­rec­tion of John Eber­son.

He was a1943 grad­u­ate of Bal­ti­more Polytech­nic In­sti­tute, where he played foot­ball and ran track. He served in the Navy dur­ing World War II and later worked at a Crown Cork and Seal plant.

As a young man, he be­came as­so­ci­ated with a group of men and women who spent time at the old Hamil­ton Recre­ation Cen­ter and patronized lo­cal busi­nesses such as the Tem­ple and Arun­del ice cream par­lors and the Ar­cade movie the­ater. The group con­tin­ued to meet through­out his life.

In 1948 he mar­ried Vi­ola Vill­mar, whose fa­ther was an owner of the old whole­sale toy and nov­elty com­pany Harry P. Cann & Bros., which was lo­cated in the 300 block of W. Red­wood St.

Mr. Blan­chard worked for the com­pany and was ini­tially a sales­man for the Eastern Shore of Mary­land and Delaware. He worked his way up to vice pres­i­dent and then pres­i­dent of the com­pany. He as­sisted in its move from down­town Bal­ti­more to East 25th Street in North­east Bal­ti­more.

“It was lo­cated next to the old Sa­muel Kirk sil­ver fac­tory,” said his daugh­ter, Jayne Blan­chard. “Dad and Gramps would sell toys at a dis­count to the Kirk’s peo­ple, and the Kirks would give them a deal on sil­ver.”

She said Harry P. Cann closed in the late 1970s due to a chang­ing whole­sale toy mar­ket.

In 1971 Mr. Blan­chard pur­chased Board­walk 5&10 stores in Re­hoboth from one of his former cus­tomers, who was re­tir­ing. The main shop was on the board­walk, and two oth­ers, the Beach Store and the Av­enue Store, were on the re­sort’s main street, Re­hoboth Av­enue.

He worked along­side his busi­ness part­ner and brother-in-law, Phil Palmere, and with his wife, Vi­ola, and sis­ter-in-law, Ruth Palmere.

“They ran the stores for 38 years and hosted gen­er­a­tions of shop­pers look­ing for her­mit crabs, light sticks, boo­gie boards and other beach­side trea­sures,” said his daugh­ter. “Dad’s plea­sure was see­ing kids come into the Board­walk 5&10 store to buy pin­wheels or kites, and years later bring their chil­dren, and then their chil­dren’s chil­dren.”

In 2008 Mr. Blan­chard sold the Board­walk 5&10.

“After re­tir­ing, dad missed see­ing cus­tomers and thought about be­com­ing a greeter at Wal­mart,” his daugh­ter said. “We joked that if he took the job, the line of cus­tomers would ex­tend all the way across Route 1 in Re­hoboth. Dad would have to talk to ev­ery per­son com­ing through the door.”

Mr. Blan­chard con­tin­ued to foster friend­ships with his Hamil­ton Gang. The group met the first Thurs­day of the month at the Parkville Amer­i­can Le­gion Hall, and later at the Pep­per­mill in Lutherville.

He had been a Bal­ti­more Colts sea­son ticket holder and also fol­lowed the Ori­oles. He en­joyed bal­let, the­ater and jazz, and was a fan of per­form­ers Stan Ken­ton, Hank Levy and Woody Her­man.

At his home on Mary Av­enue in North­east Bal­ti­more he raised cham­pion English bull­dogs and showed them through the Cap­i­tal Bull­dog Club.

He also used restau­rant-grade equip­ment to make lentil and mine­strone soups from scratch-made broth.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice was held Nov. 29 at Sher­wood Epis­co­pal Church in Cock­eysville.

In ad­di­tion to his daugh­ter, sur­vivors in­clude an­other daugh­ter, Joyce A. Mann of Cock­eysville; a sis­ter, Al­ice Char­nasky of Timonium; and a grand­son. His wife of 46 years died in 1994.

Richard Blan­chard oper­ated Board­walk 5&10 stores in Re­hoboth, Del.

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