LAKE PLACID — Earl Blinn and his wife Mary Marguerite Donnelly continued peacetime life in Lake Placid. Richard Earl Blinn, their first son and sixth child was born Nov. 3, 1946.
Earl, a Placidian sportsman and hunter, quite naturally raised Dick to become a woodsman. For some winters Dick, “Brownie” to his friends, was ranger at Lake Colden.
Brownie lives by an ineffable code of conduct spontaneously conceived in these forests — a code hearkening back to The Round Table, to Homer’s Troy, to Steinbeck’s “Tortilla Flat.” Brownie, always a straight-shooter, is neither trickster nor tricker. In the world of the Real and the Ideal, Brownie lives by the real. He has no truck with ‘ologies’, such as theology, ideology, or psychology. He believes in no deal except the square deal.
Brownie is full of grace and charm and choice four-letter expletives. Brownie knows the mystical magic powers of “The Adirondack,” he is his own shaman, skilled in the use of its herbs and barks and plants and pitches. A 20-minute consultation in Brownie’s fume-filled cellar is worth a score of visits to the shrink. Brownie has attitude and secret haunts; both rangers and police give him wide latitude to enjoy life, liberty and happiness.
Brownie is an American of straightforward, serviceable expression — he has the kind of opinions that would stop a philosopher in his tracks and make him rethink. Perhaps even to the point of abandoning the Ideal as useless, of expressing what The Preacher said, “All is Vanity — But the earth remains forever.” Brownie has no vanity, he was never On the Road with Kerouac, nor his generation. He is on his own trail, the soft-earthed and rockbound one of this High-Peak Eden where he finds realities, not book-bound entities. Comparable to the incomparable Noah John Rondeau, the Hermit of Cold River, except Brownie leaves us no book of ciphers to decipher.
A few weeks ago a crazy gray fox was assaulting my person incessantly barking. The DEC advised killing the fox as a precaution against distemper or rabies. I asked Brownie his opinion. He said, “Oh, that’s just foxes, they’re all crazy.” Brownie coexists with wild ones as mutually respectable denizens of the common forest. Requiescat in Pace, Richard Earl Blinn.
Richard Blinn of Lake Placid is survived by four siblings: Mary Anne Woodruff of Saranac Lake, Gertrude of Reno, Nev., Doris Spotts and Patrick of Lake Placid. Two sisters are deceased: Frances, wife of the late Luke Perkins, and Gwendolyn, wife of the late Red Watson, all of Lake Placid. His 20 nephews and nieces include Jennifer Perkins, Stuart and Spencer Spotts and Chad, Trevor, and Kayla Blinn, all excepting Spencer are of Lake Placid.
Dick will be buried in Lake Placid Catholic Cemetery, beside his mother and father. Calling hours will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 at the Clark Funeral Home in Lake Placid. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Agnes Church, with Reverend Joseph Morgan officiating.
Laying in state with a view of sun-splattered Lake Colby at AMC, Dick died of cancer at about 12:55 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009 in his 63rd year. Never once did he complain. He was very happy that Matt had given him flowers.
His nephew said it better than I can: “Brown Dog ... we have so many great memories together, like the outlaw camp, skiing into Colden, fishing at Cold Brook beaver dam, rescuing Hunter from the water in Bear Cub, and the 5-pointer you got at Shea’s Camp. Thank you for all the good times and showing me how to love the Adirondacks.”