William Kenneth Blevins, 68, Md.'s deputy chief tax assessor

September 23, 1996|By Sheridan Lyons and Edward Gunts | Sheridan Lyons and Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

William Kenneth Blevins, former deputy director of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, died Thursday at Sinai Hospital of a heart attack after surgery. He was 68.

A top-ranking official with the state for 16 years, he helped to unify the way state property taxes were assessed throughout Maryland. He began his career as an assessor in Baltimore County in 1963.

Ronald W. Wineholt, director of the Department of Assessments and Taxation, said Mr. Blevins filled the No. 2 slot for many years before the deputy's position was created officially.

"He filled a very special role in the agency," Mr. Wineholt said. "But the thing that comes to my mind is, he was always such a pleasant individual to work with. He always had a smile."

Mr. Blevins lived in Rosedale, where he was an avid gardener who took pride in his tomato crop. He also enjoyed golfing and playing gin rummy with his friends in a group called the Bandits at Hunt Valley Golf Club.

Born in 1927 in Jenkin Jones, W. Va., he moved with his family to Baltimore during World War II. On his 18th birthday in 1945, he enlisted in the Navy. He served aboard the USS Tombigbee and participated in Operation Crossroads, which tested the atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll.

Upon receiving his honorable discharge in 1947, he returned to Baltimore, where he met Sara Josephine Wheeler. The couple married in 1949. He worked for several years for Glick's Grocers, then opened Perry Hall Market on Belair Road. With his wife, he also operated Red Lion Market on Ebenezer Road.

In 1963, Mr. Blevins left the grocery business to join the Baltimore County Assessment Office. He became a certified assessment evaluator in 1967 and a senior assessor in 1969. Soon he was promoted to head of the commercial properties division.

After the state began taking over operation of county assessment offices in 1973, he became field supervisor in Baltimore County. In 1976, director of assessments William Shoemaker chose him as state supervisor, then the No. 2 position in the department.

Mr. Blevins was named assistant director of the Department of Assessments and Taxation in 1981 and became deputy director in 1984, a position he held until his retirement in 1990.

During his years with the state, Mr. Blevins worked on the transformation of the way it assessed real estate. Before 1974, each county and the city of Baltimore had its own method of assessing property. He helped turn the 24 processes into an integrated, statewide system.

"He was always guided by the principal of fairness, trying to ensure that every property in the state was fairly and accurately valued," said his son, Keith Blevins of Baltimore. "He wanted to make sure that no one received special treatment."

Mr. Blevins was active for many years in the Perry Hall community, where he was a life member and past president of the Optimist Club of Perry Hall. He enjoyed bowling and was among the scoring leaders of the Perry Hall Industrial League.

Services will be at 10 a.m. today at Dippel Funeral Home, 7110 Belair Road.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by two daughters, Linda Bennett and Susan Blevins; and a brother, Ronald Blevins, all of the Baltimore area; three sisters, Lois Wilson of Hampton, Va., Delores Gresham of Lavonia, Ga., and Maggie Koch of Medford, Ore.; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/23/96

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