Dedicated Historian Clarence Blakeslee honored by Rockford Historical Society

Clarence Blakeslee, 95, poses with Moses, a 7-year old tortoise who will live to the ripe old age of 150, surrounded by 5 and 6-year old Kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School.
Clarence Blakeslee, 95, poses with Moses, a seven-year old tortoise who will live to the ripe old age of 150, surrounded by five and six-year old kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School.

Jack Bolt representing the Rockford Historical Society presents "Mr. Rockford", Clarence Blakeslee, with a book depicting the history of Rockford in pictures.

Jack Bolt representing the Rockford Historical Society presents "Mr. Rockford", Clarence Blakeslee, with a book depicting the history of Rockford in pictures.

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

On a bluebird Friday afternoon, the first day of Rockford’s Annual Harvest Fest, the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community hosted its annual fall Petting Zoo. Present was guest of honor, Bishop Hills resident Clarence Blakeslee (Mr. Rockford). Clarence would never miss such a photo opportunity and he came, as always, equipped with a camera.

Also present for the afternoon, in no particular order, were the critters from Rockford’s “Farm Animals on the Go”, the pre-schoolers and kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School accompanied by classroom teachers, aides, and parents, and last but not least Jack Bolt, representing the Rockford Historical Society.

Clarence Blakeslee and Pre-schoolers of Our Lady of Consolation School are introduced to "Bo Bo" the donkey by Amy Risner of Rockford's Animals On the Go.

Clarence Blakeslee and Pre-schoolers of Our Lady of Consolation School are introduced to "Bo Bo" the donkey by Amy Risner of Rockford's Animals On the Go.

Bolt was on hand to present Clarence with a copy of Images of America – Rockford, a pictorial book of Rockford’s history by author Roberta (Bobbi) Schirado. The author had personally inscribed the book and wrote on the title page, “To Clarence Blakeslee, a Dedicated Historian”.

Clarence thanked Bolt and the Society for the book. He expressed great pleasure because the book was a pictorial history of Rockford. In a quote that couldn’t be more fitting Clarence said, “Pictures are the story of my life.” Indeed, for Clarence, they are. He was never seen about town without a camera, or two, or more hanging around his neck. Clarence spent decades of his life recording, in picture, the lives and times of his beloved Rockford. The presentation of the book was all the more appropriate because it was very likely that some of the pictures contained therein were taken by Clarence himself and donated at a later date to the Rockford Historical Society.

Clarence Blakeslee will celebrate his 95th birthday on October 30 (the day before Halloween). He would love to hear from you. Birthday cards can be sent to Clarence, care of: Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 ll-Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341.

Clarence Blakeslee is still up to his old tricks, snapping photos that is.  Here is captures his neighbors from Our Lady of Consolation School on film.  Clarence always uses film!

Clarence Blakeslee is still up to his old tricks, snapping photos that is. Here is captures his neighbors from Our Lady of Consolation School on film. Clarence always uses film!

Five and six-year old kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School.

Five and six-year old kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School.

Bill Paull celebrating his 100th birthday this month enjoys the animals too.

Bill Paull celebrating his 100th birthday this month enjoys the animals too.


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