MERCER, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Donald Arthur Blakesley, 74, of Mercer, passed away Tuesday evening, May 2, 2023, in St. John XXIII Home, Hermitage.

Mr. Blakesley was born March 19, 1949, and raised in Fullerton, California, the son of Ralph and Billie (Goodwin) Blakesley. Don’s family were fifth-generation “native” Californians and had lived in Fullerton for four generations.

After high school, he attended Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fisheries Biology.

Don began his career at Troutdale Ranch, Missouri and later joined Duke Power Environmental Lab on Lake Norman as a fisheries biologist. While working at Duke he met his wife, Sherry. They married on September 7, 1979 and bought Crystal Springs Trout Hatchery in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania, raising trout for restaurants and live stocking for 12 years. Upon the sale of their hatchery, Don and Sherry moved to Mercer and began working for Weavertown Environmental Group, near Pittsburgh. Ultimately, Don retired in 2014, as a recycling coordinator for Mercer County and most recently, Erie County.

In his youth, Don enjoyed fly fishing for trout in the High Sierras and later in Pennsylvania. An avid golfer, he played throughout his life and participated in leagues wherever he lived. Don had a passion for gardening and looked forward to pursuing outdoor projects at his home. He was also an accomplished organist and enjoyed playing all genres of music.

He is survived by his wife, the former Cheryl “Sherry” Dicks; a daughter, Kristen Blakesley; an “adopted daughter and granddaughter,” Star and Maiha Stowers; a brother, Bob (Debbie) Blakesley; a sister-in-law, Marci Richards-Dicks; an “adopted sister,” Betsy Williams; a special nephew, Jim (Sara) Dicks; two nephews, Brian (Susan) Blakesley and Mike (Dainah) Blakesley; a niece, Jennifer McMurry (Brooke Smith) and nine great nieces and nephews. Throughout his lifetime, he enjoyed many wonderful dogs, including his current beloved rescue, Zoey.

Don was preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be directed to Strayhaven Animal Shelter, 94 Donation Road, Greenville, PA 16125.

The family wishes to thank Art and Linda Amos, who helped them throughout Don’s illness. They also wish to thank all of the caring and thoughtful staff of Sharon Regional Hospital, St. John XXIII Home, 3 Rivers Hospice, Dr. Morgan, Dr. Salcedo and Dr. George, who all took excellent care of Don.

There will be a private remembrance service. 

Arrangements are being handled by the J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.

A television tribute will air Thursday, May 4 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.