Ernest J. Blankenship, 78, of Abbie Lane, Lenoir, went to be with his Lord, Saturday, January 22, 2011 after a period of declining health. He was born October 9, 1932 in Wilkes County to the late Philo Hall Blankenship and Josephine Gross Blankenship. Mr. Blankenship was a member of Hartland Baptist Church and had retired from Connie Lee Hosiery after 35 years of service. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather who enjoyed gardening and working in flowers.In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a daughter, Patricia Blankenship; granddaughter, Brittany Austin; and grandsons, Christopher Swink and Timothy Cresawn.Mr. Blankenship is survived by his wife, Julia Elaine McCall Blankenship; a son, Dennis Blankenship and his wife, Jackie of Hickory; daughters, Debra Clark and her husband, Rodney of Blowing Rock, Lynn Blankenship of Boone and Melinda Delgado and her husband Jesse of Lenoir; step-sons, David Swink and Darrell McCall both of Lenoir; a step-daughter, Sharon Cresawn and her husband Allen of Drexel; brothers, Travis Blankenship and wife Mildred and Archie Blankenship both of Ferguson, NC and Ralph Blankenship and wife, Sandra of Deep Gap, NC; sisters, Margie Mull of Griffith, Ind. and Shelby Jean Blankenship of Ferguson, NC; nine grandchildren; and several nephews and nieces.Funeral services for Mr. Blankenship will be held at 12 noon, Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at Hartland Baptist Church with the Rev. Vernon Grindstaff officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends from 11:00 am to noon, prior to the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Hartland Baptist Church Building Fund, 3730 Hartland Rd., Morganton, NC 28655.

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