Blanche Libby (Maly) Avery of St. Charles, MO passed away on Tuesday, October 3, 2023 from complications of dementia. Blanche was born July 3, 1930 to immigrant Czech parents. Her father, Charles Maly, was a butcher who died when Blanche was merely eighteen. Her mother Marie (Vrabek) Maly was a seamstress. Blanche had two sisters, Marie (Maly) McLaughlin and Donna (Maly) Odar. Together the girls gained the nickname “The Maly Dollies.”
Blanche was born in Gary, Indiana and spent her entire childhood there. She attended Lew Wallace School from second grade through her high school graduation in 1948. She went to Western College for Women (now Miami of Ohio) for one year, then completed a secretarial program in Chicago. It was then that a dashing young midshipman from the US Naval Academy, Bobby (Bob) Avery, swept her off her feet. Bob courted both Blanche and her older sister Marie, breaking the oldest dating rule in the book. Blanche prevailed, and her nearly seventy-one year marriage to Bob began on April 21, 1951.
Bob was commissioned into the US Air Force and Blanche became the consummate officer’s wife. She rose to leadership in the Officers’ Wives Club, accompanied Bob to balls and other social functions, and created a home wherever Bob was stationed. These homes spanned from Germany to Oklahoma, Mississippi, Ohio, Maine, Missouri and the Washington, DC area. Everywhere she was planted bloomed into a nurturing space for Bob and, eventually, their two children Robert Dean and Karen Sue, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who followed.
Upon retirement, Blanche and Bob were able to establish a permanent home in St. Charles, MO, near their children and grandchildren. Blanche relished her role as Grandma, always available for babysitting, day outings to Pere Marquette Park, or simply lunch at McDonald’s. She and Bob were able to take many nice vacations, both to see the country and to visit family and friends. They have been faithful members of First St. Charles UMC since 1989.
Blanche was, most of all, a Lady. Not as in “man or lady,” but as in “Gentleman or Lady.” Much like fabled June Cleaver, Blanche even did housework in full make-up, dresses, and hose. Her clothing and accessories were always polished. Once, when Bob was asked if Blanche had chosen the correct outfit for an event, he replied accurately, “Blanche is always dressed appropriately.” She was gracious and kind and a wonderful hostess to everyone from generals to her children’s playmates.
Blanche was preceded in death by her cherished husband Bob, parents Charles and Marie Maly, son Robert Avery, and sisters Marie McLaughlin and Donna Odar. She is survived by her daughter Karen (Mike) Ludwig, St. Peters, daughter-in-law Kathleen Avery, St. Charles, granddaughters Kathleen (Aaron) Eller, St.Charles, Andrea (Kyle) Parsons, St. Charles, and Julia Avery, Kansas City, grandson Matt (Cecilia) Avery, Shalimar, FL, great-grandchildren Alexandria and Benjamin Eller, Isla Parsons, and Elijah and Isaiah Avery, as well as loving nieces and nephews and their parents.
A memorial service will be held at First St. Charles United Methodist Church at 11:00 am on October 7, 2023. Visitation will precede at 10:00 am. Bob and Blanche will be interred together at Arlington National Cemetery on October 20, 2023. Memorial donations to First St. Charles UMC Backpack Ministry are welcome. Condolences and memories are appreciated and may be left at Baue.com