Blanchard Amstutz, 93, of Minneapolis, Minn., former resident of Ashland from 1998 to 2012, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis.
He was born Sept. 1, 1919, in Hayes Center, Neb. He graduated from high school in Royal Oaks, Mich., in 1931. He began his studies in music and Bible at Fort Wayne Bible College in 1941. He graduated from Taylor University with a BA in religion and then went on to study at Asbury Seminar in 1946.
He met and married the lovely Verna Simmerman on June 6, 1947. Blanchard and Verna began traveling as evangelists conducting revival meetings across the nation, singing and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the next several years, Blanchard pastored in the Missionary church denomination.
From 1966 to 1978, blanchard moved his family to Minneapolis, where he worked with the Billy Graham organization with World Wide pictures and as a crusade director for the Billy Graham Associate Evangelistic Team. He has pastored in the Missionary, Christian Missionary Alliance, and Methodist denominations for more than 40 years. In each church he pastored, Blanchard was known to leave it better than when he came, both in its natural and spiritual condition.
In 2001, Blanchard retired from the Methodist church and shortly after, he and Verna started their own interdenominational ministry in which they conducted revival meetings, led praise and worship, ministered in nursing homes and conducted weekly meetings at the local hospital. Blanchard stated that the highlight of their ministry was when they became volunteer chaplains at the Federal Correctional Prison in Summit, where they ministered faithfully every week. The inmates loved them dearly, and many of them came to know Christ through their ministry.
Blanchard and Verna celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this past June, shortly before relocating to Minneapolis in July. Blanchard’s primary gift was that of an evangelist. He loved people, made friends easily and had a passion for souls.
Blanchard was a sports man who raised his sons with a basketball, football, and baseball in hand. His hobbies included tennis, ping pong, playing pool, darts, singing and playing the trumpet. He was also a Senior Olympics multiple gold medal winner for the state of Kentucky.
Blanchard is survived by the “love of his life,” Verna; sons, Butch, Dave and Tim; daughters-in-law, Mary and Monica; grandchildren, Justyn, Cortney and Kameron and their wives, John, Ben and his wife, Kaleb, Gabe and Pierce; along with many nieces, nephews, great-grandchildren and special friends. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Charla, who passed away at the age of 35.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, at the First United Methodist Church in Ashland.
Memorials may be sent to B and V Ministries, 805 86th Lane, Coon Rapids, MN 55433.