Tom Blanda passed away on the evening of 21 July 2005, one week after suffering
a massive heart attack while at a golf driving range.
Condolences can be sent to Brenda Blanda and her family at 1107 Jack Pine Street,
San Antonio, TX 78232. Brenda's phone number is (210) 494-4174.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Tom may be made to the General
Scholarship Fund, Texas Military Institute, 20955 West Tejas Trail, San Antonio, TX 78257. Additional information is available
at the TMI web site, www.TMI-SA.org, click on "Alumni" and then click
on "Ways to Give.">
The funeral service for Tom was very special. It was held at St. David’s Episcopal
Church. The Celebrant was the chaplain at Texas Military Institute (TMI), where Tom had taught math for the last 6 years.
Tom received special tributes as a math instructor ….. not for the way he taught even though he was an outstanding teacher,
but for the way he cared for his students. The Class of 2005 from TMI had dedicated the yearbook to him.
estimate that over 200 people were in attendance, including 13 classmates. Honorary Pall Bearers were: Rod
Al Vanderbush, Red Zaldo and Dick Buckner. Also present were Art Downey, Glen Mallory with wife, Phil Mallory with wife,
Jerry Clements with wife, Ken McCollister, Frank Gibson, Ron Barrick, Steve Denney with wife, Gary Flack,
Brenda and her daughters held up well and Mary and Julie provided a reflection of Tom’s life. Bob Ridewood, who taught with
Tom, provided a reflection of Tom as a teacher. The Postlude was On Brave Old Army Team.
Following the ceremony the service moved to Ft Sam Houston National Cemetery where TMI provided a color guard. Full Military
Honors were rendered and a bagpiper played.
After the service there was a reception at TMI. A large number of students were present. The conclusion of the day came
with the release of red, white and blue balloons.
Steve Denney and Ron
Al Vanderbush and Red Zaldo (below)
Tom, Well Done, be thou at peace!
Class Memorial Pages\F-2 Tom Blanda.pdf
The funeral services for Tom Blanda were as follows:
Visitation -- Monday Jul. 25, 2005, 7:00 pm - 08:30 pm at Porter Loring Mortuary North, 2102 North Loop 1604 East,
San Antonio, TX 78232 210-495-8221
Service -- Tuesday Jul. 26, 2005 at 1:00 pm St. David's Episcopal Church, 1300 Wiltshire, San Antonio, TX 78201
Burial -- Tuesday, July 26, 2005 following service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach,
San Antonio, TX 78209 210-820-3891
LTC Frank Tom Blanda , USA (Ret.)
Born in Youngwood, PA on
Feb. 4, 1940
Died Jul. 21, 2005 and resided in San Antonio, TX.
LTC Frank Tom Blanda, USA (Ret.), age 65, passed away on Thursday, July 21, 2005 in San Antonio, TX. He was
preceded in death by his parents Michael and Mary Blanda, three brothers, and three sisters. He is survived by his wife,
Brenda Blanda of San Antonio; daughters, Juli Blanda of Seguin, Holly Hershfelt and husband Jef of Spicewood, and Mary Blanda of
San Antonio; grandchildren, Thomas Pierce, Frank Toby Blanda, and Ruby Hershfelt; sister, Margaret Yakubsin of Youngwood, PA;
brothers, George Blanda of Chicago, IL, Paul Blanda of Sebring, FL, and John Blanda of Columbus, OH; and numerous cousins,
nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the scholarship fund at TMI in his name.
LTC Frank Tom Blanda, USA (Ret.), age 65, passed away on Thursday, July 21, 2005 in San Antonio, TX. Tom was
born in Youngwood, PA in 1940 to Mary and Michael Blanda. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1961 where he
excelled both academically and athletically. Tom received a Masters Degree in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
in 1969. Tom was a 1975 graduate of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He then served on the
faculty at West Point for three years. His 24 years of Military service included two tours of duty in Viet Nam with the 173rd
Airborne Brigade and as an advisor to a Vietnamese Army unit. He also served with the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky,
with CINCPAQ in Hawaii, and with the Command and General Staff at the Pentagon. He was serving at Fifth Army at Fort Sam Houston
Texas when he retired in 1985. Tom's military career is highlighted with numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, the
Bronze Star Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Upon retirement, he pursued his love of teaching mathematics at
Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, the University of Incarnate Word, and the Texas Military Institute. He was preceded in
death by his parents Michael and Mary Blanda, three brothers, and three sisters. He is survived by his wife, Brenda Blanda of
San Antonio; daughters, Juli Blanda of Seguin, Holly Hershfelt and husband Jef of Spicewood, and Mary 'Katy' Blanda of
San Antonio; grandchildren, Thomas Pierce, Frank Toby Blanda, and Ruby Hershfelt; sister, Maragaret Yakubisin of Youngwood, Pa;
brothers, George Blanda of Chicago, IL, Paul Blanda of Sebring, FL, and John Blanda of Columbus, OH: and numerous cousins,
nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends on Monday, July 25, from 7-8:30 PM at Porter Loring Mortuary North. Service
Tuesday, July 26, 1 PM St. David's Episcopal Church 1300 Wiltshire San Antonio, TX 78209 Father Scott Brown officiating.
Interment will follow in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the
general scholarship fund at TMI in his name. You are invited to sign the guestbook at www.porterloring.com Arrangements with
Porter Loring Mortuary North.
Portions İ 2005 KENS 5 and the San Antonio Express-News.
Math teacher Blanda turned down pro football for Army career
By Carmina Danini EXPRESS-NEWS STAFF WRITER
Frank T. "Tom" Blanda, a TMI math teacher who declined an offer to play professional football
with the St. Louis Cardinals so that he could stay in the Army, died Thursday at 65.
Blanda died at North Central Hospital one week after suffering a heart attack while on the driving range.
A 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Blanda lettered in football -- he was quarterback his
junior and senior years -- and won Second-Team All-America honors.
Around that same time, an older brother, future Pro Football Hall of Famer George Blanda was leading the American Football
League in pass attempts and completions.
Tom Blanda served two years in the Army after earning his commission.
While stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, the Cardinals flew him and his wife,
Brenda, to St. Louis.
"After taking a week to think about it, he said he felt an obligation to stay
in the Army because it had paid for his education," Brenda Blanda said.
"He never regretted his choice. I did because a year and a half later, he
was in Vietnam."
He would serve two tours in Vietnam before returning to West Point to teach
At the academy he became known for helping students master mathematics and
for ending each class with his uniform covered in chalk dust.
A man who read math books for pleasure, the Youngwood, PA, native liked to
take any piece of paper on hand, from mail envelopes to scratch pads, to jot
down math formulas.
His Army career came to the close in 1985 at Fort Sam Houston with the rank
of lieutenant colonel. Blanda taught math at several schools, including
Incarnate Word College -- now University of the Incarnate Word -- where he
remained for 12 years.
Blanda loved teaching at West Point and at Incarnate Word but he grew tired
of students who were unprepared for college-level math, said his wife.
Two years after joining Texas Military Institute, he told his wife he felt
"like I've come home."
Hours before his heart attack, Blanda learned two of his students passed
their Advanced Placement exams, one with a 5, the highest possible score, and
the other with a 4.
"Tom was so excited that he literally danced a little jig in the kitchen,"
Along with his wife and brother George, he leaves three daughters, Juli
Blanda of Seguin, Holly Hershfelt of Spicewood and Mary Blanda of San Antonio;
three grandchildren, Thomas Pierce and Frank Toby Blanda, both of San Antonio,
and Ruby Hershfelt of Spicewood, a sister, Margaret Yakubsin of Youngwood; and
two other brothers, Paul Blanda of Sebring, Fla, and John Blanda of Columbus,
Visitation will be at Porter Loring Mortuary North at 2101 N. Loop 1604 on
Monday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
A funeral service will be Tuesday at 1 p.m. at St. David's Episcopal Church
at 1300 Wiltshire.
Internment in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.
San Antonio Express-News Sunday, July 24, 2005