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Published: Saturday, 7/19/2003

Doctor's wife served on agency board

HUDSON, Mich. - Lucile J. Blanchard, 95, a former board member of Family Counseling and Children's Services of Lenawee County who kept the books for her husband's medical practice, died Wednesday in Vista Grande Villa retirement home, Jackson, Mich. She had been in failing health recently.

Mrs. Blanchard in the 1960s was a board member of the county agency because it offered services to anyone in need, including neighbors and friends, her daughter Anne Gascoigne said.

Mrs. Blanchard and her husband, Dr. Lowell E. Blanchard, moved to Hudson in 1932 so he could start his practice as a community physician and surgeon. They made part of their home a doctor's office.

“She did all the books,” Ms. Gascoigne said. “There were times when people would come and pay them with chickens. It was during the Depression, and [patients] didn't have money.”

Mrs. Blanchard believed that her job was to keep the home running smoothly as a support to her husband's career.

“In that time period, that's just what the wives did,” her daughter said. “She became quite independent.”

Mrs. Blanchard belonged to Hudson First United Methodist Church and its women's group. She was a member of the Lenawee County Medical Society auxiliary and of the Hudson Friday Club.

She grew up on a farm in northern Fulton County and was a graduate of Morenci, Mich., High School and of what is now Eastern Michigan University. She taught school in Mount Clemens, Mich., for four years.

She developed an interest in antiques in the 1950s and collected early American blown glass - especially pink glass - when it was easy to find and cheap to buy.

“She was a grand lady known for her generosity,” her daughter said. “She gave away her glass and possessions. She gave an elevator to her church.”

In retirement, she and her husband spent summers at Devils Lake and winters in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Mrs. Blanchard and her husband married Aug. 24, 1932. He died June 9, 1997.

Surviving are her daughters, Anne Gascoigne and Cynthia Cooke; brother, Dr. Clarence Kunkle; six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Eagle Mortuary, Hudson. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in Hudson First United Methodist Church.

The family requests tributes to the Lowell E. and Lucile J. Blanchard Endowed College Scholarship Fund at Hudson Area High School.

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