Blake M Sower, 98 passed away May 16, 2021. Loved and survived by his Partner in faith Paula Christopherson; Sons Gehry (Jan) Sower, Kenneth (Suzanne) Sower and daughter Annalee (Dave Hoppenrath) Sower, 4 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Preceded in death by wife Dorothy Sower.
Blake was blessed to be loved and survived by Paula's family: Tim Christopherson, Pete Christopherson, Paul (Deb) Christopherson, Charlie (Tara Sweeney) Christopherson, Marcia Christopherson, Amy (Shane) Loomis, 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. Preceded in death by Susan Christopherson and Mark Christopherson.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Christ United Methodist Church, 2500 Hudson Pl, Maplewood, MN 55119
Light lunch after the service
1:30 Family leaves for private interment at Oaklawn Cemetery in Northfield, MN
Please note that the church is not air conditioned. There will be fans. Please bring a mask if you need one. Hand sanitizer will be available.
Early Life: Born August 16, 1922 in Rush City, Minnesota. Folks living in North Branch at the time and in about a year they moved to Cloquet. I was told that my folkâs first impression of Cloquet was that it did not smell very inviting. To get rid of the smell they opened all the windows in the house and still this did not help. They later learned that the smell was from the paper-mill.
I had a pretty normal life there as a youngster thru eighth grade. No TV and so we had to make up our own games when outside. Two highlights; one, every 4th of July the city had a parade and it started right in front of our house, and two, in the seventh and eighth grades I was the school marble champ. I could go to School with a shooter and one extra marble and come home with a pocketful. A great accomplishment.
I was born during the Warren Harding administration, but the less said about that the better. The Teapot Dome scandal happened during this administration, which was about oil contracts and a lot of bribery although the contracts were legal.
I lived thru the 30âs that saw a lot of happenings:
1. 1930 - Acrylic plastic was invented.
2. 1931 - Wonder Bread came on the market.
3. 1932 - Roosevelt won all but 6 states in defeating Hoover.
4. 1934 - Dust storms blew 300 million tons of topsoil from the Midwest to the Atlantic, damaging over 300 million acres.
5. 1935 â Nylon was invented.
This was also the period of the Great Depression of the 30âs and my Dad was out of work and for Christmas 1937 my two sisters and I received the game of Monopoly as our one and only gift. The game was just introduced in 1934.
As I recall the summer of 1935 my mother and I, and her sister with her three children took a trip out to Ohio and PA to visit relatives. It was there on a farm that I learned how to ride a pony. I believe it was my last time on a horse.
The years from 1937-1940 we lived in Northfield, MN and I graduated from high school in 1940. The summer of 1940 I had a job working in a grocery store and was glad to have the employment as jobs were hard to come by. I was earning $12.00/wk for about 65 hours of work. I do remember some prices:
â¢ 6 lbs of bananas 25 cents
â¢ 2 lbs of Hills Bros. Coffee 25 cents
â¢ 2 boxes of Wheaties 25 cents
â¢ Peaches about 79 cents - $1.25 a crate
The year of 1940-41 I attended St. Olaf College and I think the tuition was something like $250 for a semester. I roomed at home.
I believe that in the summer of 1941 that I made my first investment. A friend and I went into the business of raising some pigs. We bought 2 pregnant sows, built a pen for them as well as an automatic feeder and water supply. It took about 6 months to bring the piglets to market weight and we sold them making about $75.00 each for our summerâs effort. It was a good learning experience. The best learning experience was never put weaned sows in a pen next to a castrated boar. The sows broke down the fence separating them from the boar and just about killed the boar.
The school year 1941 to May 1942 I spent at an NYA camp that was just east of Shakopee, studying aircraft mechanics.
December 7, 1941, I heard the news of the raid on Pearl Harbor over the radio. I was home at the time and was sitting on the family couch holding Dorothyâs hand.
The summer of 1942 I worked for NWA at Holman Field modifying b24 bombers.
September 1942 to May 1943 my folks lived in Rochester, MN. I attended Rochester J.C. with studies in Calculus, Physics and Chemistry.
Then on July 1, 1943, I went on active duty in the Navy in the newly developed V-12 program majoring in chemical Engineering at the University of MN. Graduating from the program in October 1944 I was sent to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY for midshipman training leading to a commission. Graduated about mid-April 1945, went back home and married Dorothy on May 3, 1945.
It may be interesting to note that within 3 weeks of April 1945, Roosevelt dies of a brain hemorrhage, Benito Mussolini is assassinated and Hitler committed suicide.
Also, in 1945 the electronic computer, 27 tons and 18,000 vacuum tubes came into being. Today we get all that intelligence in a cell phone.
My orders after Cornell sent me to Raleigh, NC, for diesel engineering training at North Carolina State University. Dorothy was able to join in Raleigh. The summer of 1945 in Raleigh was very hot and humid and there was no A.C.
While in Raleigh the Japanese war came to an end on august 13, 1945. Dorothy and I had been out of town and as we came back into Raleigh there were cars lined up at gas stations. We knew the war was over.
Left Raleigh in September 1945 with orders to Commander of Destroyers of the Pacific. Dorothy and I were able to have about a week in San Francisco before I shipped out for Pearl Harbor. I was only out at Pearl for about 6 weeks when we were ordered back to Frisco for decommissioning. Got back just before Thanksgiving and spent the next 5 to 6 weeks exploring Frisco. January 1946 had enough points to get out so came home.
Started working for an advanced degree in Chem E, at the University in February 1946 and was there until June 1947. My first son was born October 30, 1946.
Started to work for 3M on July 1, 1947 and was there for 35 years retiring on September 1, 1982. Had experience in Tape Quality Control, and then having responsibility for various tape products from their beginnings to a finished product out of production. Did some traveling in the latter years in moving products to other 3M locations so as to gain added capacity. Some traveling was also done to help in the building of equipment at vendor shops. It was a good 35 years at 3M.
Yes, I was in the plant next to the building where the 1954 explosion took place. Fortunately, a cement wall blocked any exposure from the blast.
Another significant happening during my time at 3M was the assassination of J F Kennedy. I was at my desk when someone came in and told me.
In December 1950 Dorothy and I joined Epwoth United Methodist Church here on the east side of St. Paul. We were very active members and I still am active.
One of my desires early on was to learn how to fly an airplane. So, in 1966 or 67 I started to take lessons, soloed after 12 hours and went on to get my pilotâs certificate. I had about 100 hours in before I stopped flying. It was fun and a good learning experience.
Besides our first son, Gehry Drake b.10/30/46, Dorothy and I had another son, Kenneth Blake b.08/02/50, and a daughter, Annalee Fay b.07/15/53. Now I have two biological grandchildren and two step grandsons and a biological great granddaughter and a great grandson plus two great grand stepsons.
Dorothy and I did a lot of traveling in my retirement in the US and Europe with out most memorable trip was to New Zealand and Australia. Would like to go back for a revisit.
Dorothy passed away March 9, 2000 from kidney cancer. We were married just two months short of 55 years.
I have now been blessed with another fine woman as my companion, friend and wife. We met in late 2000 and were married on March 3, 2001.
THATâS IT FOLKS!!! KEEP SMILING