Jim Paul Blair Dies At 58 Years Old


Wednesday, February 12th 2020, 9:59 am
By: Erick Payne


The family of Muskogee civic leader and musician Jim Paul Blair is planning his funeral after he died from an illness.

He was only 58 years old.

Blair was a former executive director at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and had an extensive background in the arts. Those who knew Jim Paul Blair well say he was a jack of all trades, and an important part of the Muskogee community.

Blair was known for his love of music - his own and the music of others. He also liked to help, and do things to try and lift people's spirits - like taking part in a benefit concert to benefit flood victims.

Blair was a vital member of the International Bluegrass Festival, vice-chairman of the Muskogee Tourism Board, and a manager of the Muskogee Medical Authority. Muskogee's tourism director, Justin O'Neal, worked with Blair for more than a decade and tells me it will be hard - now that a piece of his everyday life is gone.

"Just his presence everywhere, Jim was a true believer in all things Muskogee, all things music, all things Oklahoma. He was not only a talker about that stuff, he really did that stuff. He put in the groundwork and all the pieces came together when he was on a project," O'Neal said.

Blair's Facebook page is flooded with messages of condolence, and other leaders and groups in the community are also sharing the impact Blair had on their lives.

His widow says he would drop everything to help others.

"He would engage and listen to people. Whenever they would have something to say, he would listen, and they walked away from him feeling like they were the most important thing in his life at that particular moment, he had an uncanny ability to do that," Katey Sherrick Blair said.

The family is holding a celebration of his life at the Muskogee Civic Center Sunday at 5 pm.

 

 
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