A Message from Christine Benero, President and CEO

Dear Mile High United Way supporters, advocates and friends,

It is with a broken heart that I am writing to tell you that we have lost our friend and colleague Robert Blankenship. There are truly no words at this time to express the sadness we all share.

Robert's services will be held this Thursday at Trinity Methodist Church at 4:00 pm. Trinity is a beautiful old church in downtown Denver, across from the Brown Palace - 1820 Broadway. We welcome all who would like to attend to celebrate the life of this extraordinary man.

Below, please find a beautiful piece about Robert that his loving friend and our board member Tamra Ward wrote.

With love,
Christine Benero

Robert Reid Blankenship 1956 - 2013

Robert Reid Blankenship was born July 24, 1956 in Jackson, Tennessee, the child of James Franklin and Ivary Blankenship and the third of four children raised in the community of Lexington. He died July 21, 2013 following a short but valiant battle with cancer.

Following a stellar 19-year career with Fruit of the Loom, where he served as a Vice President in North America and European Operations, a love for the outdoors and the mountains - kindled by his time in Switzerland - brought him back to the United States and to Colorado in 1998. In 2000, he began a 12-year run as the Chief Operating Officer for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, where he played a pivotal role in growing the organization's reach and resources.

In 2012, Robert left the Chamber to follow another passion - that of giving back to the community. He assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer for the Mile High United Way, where he worked until his passing.

In 2003 he met Andrea Tollar, the love of his life, who became his wife on July 8, 2013.

Robert will always be known for his zest for life, his selfless, loving nature and his incredible turn of phrase affectionately known as "Robertisms."

He is survived by Andrea; his siblings Dwight and his wife Jenny, Douglas and his partner Dan, and his sister Diana. He also loved his nieces and nephews, Chris, Holly, Laura Beth, Steven, and Keelye. Countless friends also mourn this loss.

Donations may be made in Robert's memory to the Denver Metro Leadership Foundation and the Mile High United Way.