Obituaries

Edwin Joseph Blesch

Edwin J. Blesch Jr., professor emeritus, 81, died peacefully on Dec. 30, 2021, in New York. 

Son of Edwin J. Blesch and Dorothy Cecilia Prendergast of Greenwich Village, he lived in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, Chelsea and Gramercy Park before buying his home, an antique fixer-upper, in Orient in 1981. He spent the next 40 years making it into a home. Native born, he considered himself a New York chauvinist who considered this city and The New York Times his root education.

After completing his bachelor degree in Washington, D.C., he stayed on to work for the Navy Department as a researcher, writer and editor. Completing two further graduate degrees and more, he earned a half-dozen scholarships and fellowships before starting teaching English and cinema studies at Suffolk County and Nassau County community colleges and Marymount Manhattan College. When nominated as Teacher of the Year among a faculty of 2,000, Professor Blesch declined partaking in the award. He did not want to make his profession a competitive contest. 

Professor Blesch was a lifelong lover of travel, and his academic schedule allowed for sabbaticals and periods of long-leave. He lived abroad at times in Australia, South Africa, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. He was able to travel to 84 foreign countries and all 50 states, multiple times.

His passions at home included the fine arts, theater, ballet, opera, classical concerts, cooking, decorating and especially gardening.

Predeceased by his beloved parents and sister Mary Lou, he is survived by his devoted husband of 22 years, Tim Smulian; his sister Kathleen Still of North Carolina and her family; and his brother, Bobby Blesch of Utah, and his family. 

At his request there is to be no service or memorial, but donations in his memory can be made to CARE, God’s Love We Deliver, Greenpeace or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

This is a paid notice.

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