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Published: Saturday, 12/7/2002

Executive secretary at Champion attended conferences overseas

Betty Jane “Burr” Blair, former senior executive secretary for the Champion Spark Plug Co., died Thursday of congestive heart failure in St. Anne Mercy Hospital. She was 83.

Mrs. Blair of West Toledo graduated from DeVilbiss High School in 1937. She attended Davis Business College and the University of Toledo.

She began working as a secretary for Champion in her early 30s, retiring as senior executive secretary in 1982 after 33 years with the company.

“She was not only educated, she was a self-motivator,” her daughter-in-law, Janice, said. “She was very sophisticated.”

Mrs. Blair attended several of the Champion Ignition and Engine Performance conferences for company employees from around the world.

She was one of the first women at Champion Spark Plug to fly on the company aircraft, traveling to conferences in the United States, Mexico, and Europe.

Mrs. Blair was active with St. Paul's Lutheran Church and later with the Cathedral of Praise in Sylvania, where she helped deliver food and gifts to elderly people who had trouble leaving their homes. She was a member of the Cathedral of Praise Golden Armor Bearers, a group that brought food and ministered to grieving families.

“She was a very giving and outgoing type of person,” her son, Jan, said.

For almost 60 years, Mrs. Blair was an active member of the Pi Sigma Lambda sorority, a group of women she knew from high school.

She held several positions with the Sylvania-Ottawa Hills AARP chapter and belonged to the Alpha Beta Chi sorority, the Eagles auxiliary, Champion's Quarter Century Retiree Club, and the 1937 DeVilbiss High School Reunion Committee. She volunteered with the local American Red Cross.

Mrs. Blair enjoyed collecting cut glass and decorating clothing and other objects with faux gems.

Surviving are her son, Jan; brother, Robert Abbott; sister, Virginia Chapman, and two granddaughters.

Services will be at noon today in the Ansberg-West Funeral Home, where the body will be after 10 this morning.

The family requests tributes to the Cathedral of Praise.



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