WALKER E. BLOUNT, Jr. - 87 - Tax Accountant
BARTOW - Walker E. "Bill" Blount Jr., 87, former Mayor of Bartow, local tax accountant, and member of a pioneer Florida family, passed away at home Sunday morning after a brief respiratory illness.
Mr. Blount was born March 15, 1920, to the late Walker E. Blount Sr. and Grace Walker Blount in Fort Myers, Florida. He was the great great grandson of Readding Blount often credited as the founder of Bartow.
Mr. Blount recently reminisced that growing up in Fort Myers during the 1920's and 30's was like living in "Blount and Hendryville" because so much of the family had relocated their cattle business from Polk County after the War Between the States. He was the great grandson of the First Clerk of the Court for Polk County, J.J. Blount and Mary Jane Hendry Blount.
He graduated from Miami Beach Sr. High School and attended the University of Miami where he served as class president and became a life long supporter of the Hurricanes. It was during this time that he met his beloved wife of 65 years Nell Shaffer Blount.
He was accepted in the United States Army Candidate School shortly after the outbreak of World War II and served in the Pacific Theater as a Captain. Upon leaving the Army at war's end he relocated his family to Bartow in 1946, to join the Tax Accounting practice of his uncle Ray Howard Walker.
He said at the time of the Bartow's 150 year celebration in a 2001 interview with a local daily paper that choosing Bartow to raise a family and serve the community was like coming home as he had many friends from boyhood visits as well as kin.
For several years after the war Mr. Blount served as Battery Commander of the local National Guard Unit Battery A 116 Field Artillery where he was conferred his final rank of Major and his friend and neighbor Richard Frisbee assumed the post upon his leaving service.
Mr. Blount took over the accounting practice in the early 1950's and began his lifelong service to the community when he co-authored the City Charter with the late Chesterfield H. Smith and attorney Bob Huffaker in 1954. Later Mr. Blount served on the city commission and sat as Mayor of Bartow during 1959-1960.
He became recognized as an expert in agrarian accounting, especially citrus as well as taxation. He was proud to have served both Sen. Spessard Holland and Ben Hill Griffin amongst many local customers. He loved to teach and many younger CPA's, bookkeepers, and college accounting students received the benefit of his tutoring and sage advice.
Other civic leadership duties and honors for service were bestowed upon him. He was a Lifetime Honorary Member Florida Sheriff's Association; Bartow Memorial Hospital Board of Directors 1969-75; Bartow Chamber of Commerce Service Award 1981; Lions Club member most of his adult life and local President 1972-73; Fireman's Pension Board Certificate of Merit 1972; Peace River Country Club President 1970; and Orange Belt Touchdown Club President 1971.
As his business prospered he was joined in practice by Charles A. Richardson in the mid 1960's and the firm became known as Blount and Richardson. It was located on the site of the current Ft. Blount Park and remained there until it became a part of the county annex building and the firm moved to East Davidson Street and Jackson Avenue.
Mr. Blount was invited to join the Board of Directors of Citrus and Chemical Bank in 1965 and served until 2007. He also served on the Board of Directors of ALICO 1973-2004 and Ben Hill Griffin Inc. 1973-2004.
He loved to travel the world with his wife Nell and they often joined their dear friends the late George Harris, Jr. and Harriett Harris on trips to the Annual International Banking conference. After Blount and Richardson was sold to local CPA Steve Wright in 1984, Mr. Blount stayed with the practice. Many times over the past decade he would exclaim, "This is my last tax season," only to go back for "just one more year." He continued to work up until the summer of 2007. Mr. Blount was the grandson of Methodist Theologian and former Florida Southern College President Dr. S. W. Walker. He was a lifelong Methodist and member of First United Methodist Church of Bartow since settling here. He possessed a deep and abiding faith.
Mr. Blount was preceded in death by his oldest daughter Dr. Rebecca Blount Bryson Kissenger and his younger brother Robert Blount.
In addition to his beloved wife Nell, he is survived by his daughter Jennifer Blount Joyner, her husband Dr. Gary Joyner; daughter Barbara Blount Merachnik, widow of Robert Merachnik; 8 grandsons, Jeffrey Bryson, Jacob Joyner (Jennifer), Mathew Joyner (Kristi), Luke Joyner, Joshua Joyner (Melody), Gary Merachnik and Corey Merachnik; two granddaughters, Ashley and Amy Kissenger; 6 great grandchildren; sister in law Mary Blount and many nieces and a nephew.
Arrangements are being handled by Whidden-McLean Funeral Home in Bartow where family will receive friends Wednesday, December 19, 2007. Services for Mr. Blount will follow Thursday, December 20, 2007 at the First United Methodist Church 455 South Broadway Ave., Bartow FL 33830. Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 455 South Broadway, Bartow, FL 33830 or Fla. United Methodist Children's Home, P.O. Box 6299, Deltona, FL 32728. – Ledger, Dec. 18, 2007
BARTOW - Nell S. Blount, of Bartow, Florida, passed away at her home after a brief battle with cancer on Wednesday, September 16, 2009.
Mrs. Blount was born Sept. 23, 1923, in Miami, Florida to the late Donald and Ruth Shaffer and later moved from Frostproof to Miami Beach after the death of her mother to live with her Aunt and Uncle Rebecca and Kenneth Burritt.
Mrs. Blount was a 1941 graduate of Miami Beach Sr. High and attended secretarial college in Coral Gables. During this time she met the love of her life and husband for 65 years, Walker E. "Bill" Blount, Jr., who passed away in 2007. She moved to Bartow in 1946 from Miami Beach with her husband and their 3 year old daughter Rebecca. Jennifer Nell came along in 1947 and the family was completed with the arrival of Barbara Grace in 1955. Mrs. Blount was a devoted wife, mother, friend, and Christian lady. She was an active volunteer throughout the school lives of her daughters, serving as a home room mother and PTA member. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Bartow for 63 years. Mrs Blount was an avid bridge player, member of the So-Sew club, needle work guild, and volunteer for the March of Dimes. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the Ocean Club North Condominium Association of New Smyrna Beach elected her association President. Mrs. Blount loved traveling the world with her husband and friends.
She was predeceased by her husband Walker E. "Bill" Blount and her daughter Dr. Rebecca Bryson Kissinger.
She is survived by her daughters: Jennifer Nell Joyner, husband Dr. Gary Joyner of Bartow, Barbara Grace Merachnik of New Smyrna Beach, grandchildren: Jeffrey Bryson, Ashley Kissinger, Amy Kissinger, Jacob Joyner and wife Jennifer, Mathew Joyner and wife Kristi, Luke Joyner, Joshua Joyner and wife Melody, Gary Merachnik, and Corey Merachnik. She also leaves behind six great grandchildren, sister Anabel Sargent of Pell City, AL, sister Kay Burritt French of Kenniwick, WA, brothers Don Shaffer of Zephyrhills, Jack Shaffer of Murphy, NC, sister-in-law Mary Blount of Bartow, and loving nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 19th at 11:00 am at the First United Methodist Church of Bartow, 455 South Broadway in Bartow.
Interment will follow in Wildwood Cemetery in Bartow. Following the interment the family will receive friends at the Blount home, 1105 E. Bougainvillea Way in Bartow. Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Bartow, 455 South Broadway, Bartow, FL 33830 or a charity of choice. – Ledger, Sept. 18, 2009