Yates and Others

Mark Blakeney

Mark Blakeney

Male 1935 - 2020  (84 years)

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  • Name Mark Blakeney 
    Birth 3 Jul 1935  Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death 1 Jul 2020 
    Person ID I8587  Yatesville History & Genealogy
    Last Modified 10 May 2022 

    Father Charles Blakeney,   b. 29 Aug 1901, Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 23 Jan 1975, Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 73 years) 
    Mother Ethel Stevens,   b. 4 Apr 1907, Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 5 Oct 1987, Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location (Age 80 years) 
    Marriage 26 Aug 1934  Vermilion, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F3310  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family B. Powell 
     1. M.S. Blakeney, 48 CM-M
     2. S.M. Blakeney
     3. S.W. Blakeney
    Family ID F14694  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 1 Feb 2023 

  • Photos

  • Notes 
    • Next, I questioned my grandfather Stevens in order to find more information concerning my maternal-ancestors. "Well" he said, "I can't tell you too much about the Stevens family except they came very early to Illinois from Maryland where they had settled after coming over from Germany." "Did they take part in any Indian fights or wars?" I asked. "I don't know about the Indian fights," he replied, "but your great-great grandfather, Byrd Stevens, was first Lieutenant of Company D of the l25th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers during the Civil War. His son, William, that was my father, also fought in the Civil War. See there on the wall, Mark, hangs a framed record of their company. That sword and gun you have were carried by your great grandfather Stevens during many Civil War battles. Now you see why your mother insisted that you buy a blue, not a gray, Civil War cap when this new fad started."

      "Yes, she told me, but didn't you or your father ever see an Indian?" No, I'm afraid not, Mark" he answered. "But did you know that, I once went from Illinois to Nebraska in a covered wagon?" No, tell me about it," I prompted. "Well, there's not much to tell. You see we started out on August 24, l872, this day that I was one month old. We arrived in Nebraska one month later, according to my mother's account. Although the entire family made the trip in three or four wagons and planned to stay permanently, we remained only one winter. It was a severe one, mother said, and everyone was thankful when spring came and opportunity to return to Illinois." Back in Vermillion County as a young man, Grandfather Stevens worked in the mines and the mining companies' stores. At the various social events of the booming Grape Creek mining community, he began courting a young woman Mandie McArdle. In 1906, after a courtship of buggy rides and revival meetings, the young couple was married. Born to this couple were two daughters, Ethel and Babe. Both attended Jenkins School and later were graduated from Westville High School. Ethel, the elder daughter, and Charlie Blakeney were married in 1934. I, their first son, was born in St. Elizabeth Hospital on July 3, 1935. Fred, my brother, is twelve years old today.

      Mark Blakeney, 84, of Danville, passed away at 2:45pm, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, at his home surrounded by his family. He was born on July 3, 1935, in Danville, IL, the son of Charles and Ethel {Stevens} Blakeney, both deceased. He was united in marriage to Barbara Powell on August 3, 1958 in Danville. She will miss him dearly.

      Those who also miss him include: his sons, Steve (Cindy) Blakeney of Danville, Scott (Debbie) Blakeney of Mahomet, Sam (Angie) Blakeney of Danville, and Sean (Jenny) Blakeney of Westville; his grandchildren, Brittani (Austin), Hunter, Zachary, Molly, Caitlyn, Dakota (Lanie), Emma, & Anna; his great grandchildren, Landyn, Lexi, & Ady; and his special friend, Kevin Noggle of Georgetown. He was preceded in death by his brother, Fred Blakeney.

      Mark was proud of his time attending a one-room schoolhouse, Jenkins Ford, and later graduated from Bradley University in June of 1963. He served as Sergeant in the Army National Guard in Company E. He worked for IDOT the summer of 1956 and 1957 and then full time for 5 years prior to graduating Bradley as an Engineering Tech. Upon graduation, he began his career with the IDOT as a Civil Engineer II in District 5, Paris, IL. During the next 7 years, he worked in the Bureaus of Planning, Design and Construction gaining valuable career experience and passing the Professional Engineers exam.

      In 1970, he was promoted to the position of Supervising Construction Field Engineer which he held for 13 ½ years. During that time, he was involved in the completion of I-57, I-70, I-74 and I-72 within his district, as well as several urban projects in Danville, Champaign-Urbana, and Decatur. In December 1983, he was selected by the Federal Highway Department to go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to serve on a Value Engineering team to evaluate projects to make recommendations to the Minister of Communications. While there, he received a phone call at 2:00am from Mr. Benson (District Engineer) and was asked to take a lateral transfer to the position of Maintenance Field Engineer and Mark said a person can’t refuse the District Engineer’s request and he had a new job when he got home. It had proven to be one of the best jobs he had and he was able to use his immense knowledge and experience to solve the maintenance related problems in his field and he couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.

      In his time earning a living and producing something useful to mankind, Mark and his wife, Barbara raised their family of four sons, Mark Steven, Scott Robert, Sam Michael, & Sean William, who were a handful, especially for Barb due to Mark having to be gone a good deal. He was involved with the Paris Chapter of the Illinois Highway Engineers Association and later Secretary of the State Board. He also served as Scout Master of Ridge Farm Troop 20 for 8 years and was an active member of the Ridge Farm Lions Club where he served as President for 2 terms. He also served on the Ridge Farm Village Board for one term. He thought it was enlightening and said everyone should serve at least one term in this type of service. Mark spent time serving on the Ridge Farm Centennial Committee and felt that year passed quickly. He was also active in the Masonic Lodge, the Ansar Brass Band, and the Eastern Illinois Shrine Club Transportation Committee where he transported patients and parents to and from Shriner’s Hospitals located in Chicago, ST. Louis, and Cincinnati and their homes.

      Mark has always been involved in the family’s 240-acre farm of rolling ground, some with timber, some tillable, and some pasture all bordered by the Big Vermilion River. In 1967, Mark’s father’s health began to decline, and Mark became the “Man behind the Plow”. In 1987, Barb became the “Lady of the Ledger” after his mother passed. His sons then helped and gradually began to take over the farm which is registered as a Centennial Farm in Illinois. Mark was proud of turning over the same sod that his father, grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfather turned over. A legacy that he has passed through to his sons and family.

      A Visitation will be held to celebrate Mark’s life from 2:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday, July 6, 2020, at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Westville, Illinois 414 S State St. Westville, Illinois 61883 with Masonic Services to be held at 6:00pm.

      A private family graveside service will be held on Tuesday July 7, 2020, with Phil Miller officiating. He will be laid to rest on the family farm at Bock Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Shriner’s Children’s Hospitals. Please join his family in sharing memories through his Tribute Wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com