Robert F. Blanck, 87, tax lawyer, trustee

Robert F. Blanck
Robert F. Blanck
Posted: January 25, 2014

Robert F. Blanck, 87, of Skippack Township, a lawyer and longtime trustee for the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, died Thursday, Jan. 16, of complications from a stroke at Pottstown Memorial Hospital.

Before moving to Skippack, Dr. Blanck was a resident of the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, near the seminary's Mount Airy campus, with which he had fallen in love as a boy.

Dr. Blanck was a trustee at the time of his death, and served as board chair from 1976 to 2003. Prior to a stroke in December 2013, he took the train from Chestnut Hill each weekday to his Center City law office.

He worked for the law offices of Schubert, Gallagher, Tyler & Mulcahey. His niches were estates, real estate, tax law, and assisting nonprofits.

"He was generous in counseling others and became close with many of his clients," his family said in a tribute.

Born in Philadelphia and raised outside Reading, Dr. Blanck graduated from Wilson High School. He graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1949 after a tour in the Air Force. He almost enrolled in a seminary, but decided instead to pursue the practice of law, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1952.

The practice did not keep Dr. Blanck from deepening the role of faith in his life. He served as a seminary trustee for more than 40 years. From 1982 to 1987, he was treasurer for the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), a predecessor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

He was on the executive board of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Southeastern Pennsylvania synods of the LCA. At Trinity Lutheran Church, Germantown, he served as president from 1966 to 1993.

As seminary board chair, Dr. Blanck oversaw many changes to the campus, including upgrading the Hagan Administration Building, adding an amphitheater in the 1970s, and the 1998 construction of the Wiedemann Center, a dormitory for seminarians and their families.

One challenge during his board tenure was to communicate the strong Lutheran identity of the seminary as it embraced other traditions in its learning community.

Dr. Blanck was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of laws by Muhlenberg in 1976, and was recognized by the seminary in 2001 with an honorary doctorate of divinity.

Dr. Blanck cared for the former Barbara Steel, his wife of 62 years, after she developed dementia in 2009. She died in September 2011.

His faith sustained him, he said: "It is a part of me. I don't turn it on and off. My faith guides every decision and step I take, and influences my choices and the way I try to live my life."

In his spare time, Dr. Blanck loved watching sports on TV. A lifelong Phillies fan, he attended minor-league games in Reading.

He also enjoyed summers in Ocean City, N.J. When he was not spending time with his grandchildren, he was traveling. He loved classical music and Philadelphia Orchestra concerts.

Surviving are a daughter, Meredith S. Marando-Blanck; three grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Main St., Lansdale. A reception will follow the service.

Contributions may be made to the Dr. Robert Blanck Fund, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, 7301 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia 19119.



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