John Payne Blair Jr., 78, organ salesman, singer

February 20, 2005

John Payne Blair Jr., an organ salesman, amateur entertainer and opera singer, died Feb. 13 of pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Rodgers Forge resident was 78.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Blair spent his early years on the west side of the city before his family moved to a home near Waverly.

He graduated from City College and later studied singing at the Peabody Conservatory.

For many years, Mr. Blair worked as an organ salesman for the Hammond Music Co. When Hammond closed, he began work at the old Bank of Baltimore and stayed there until retirement.

He had a passion for the opera, and sang with groups including the Baltimore Civic Opera Company.

Mr. Blair also performed show tunes and was a fan of the Orioles.

He was a member of the Towson Elks Lodge.

Private funeral services will be held this week.

He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Frank Blair; a son, John Payne Blair III of Arbutus; a daughter, Belinda Blair of San Francisco; a brother, Thomas Blair of Parkville; two stepdaughters, Suzanne Mangione Wright of Boulder, Colo., and Cynthia Mangione Teremani of Baltimore; and two step-granddaughters. A son, Phillip Blair, died in 1989.

Mr. Blair's marriages to Donna Hyatt and Virginia Foster ended in divorce.

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