Branch: U. S. Army

   Rank:  Private

   Status: Died of disease

   Date of Service: WWII

   Home Town: Holst Township

1. Ellen Blair (rear) L to R: Frank, Mary Ester, Jimmie Blair 2. Frank’s headstone in the Bagley City Cemetery

Marvin “Frank” Blair was born on September 27, 1908 in Clearwater County to parents Charles James “Jim” and Mary McCrehin Blair. Jim Blair had grown up in Michigan and come to Clearwater County as a young man. Mary was a local Irish girl from Leonard where her father was a pioneer homesteader in Dudley Township. The couple were married in Bemidji on Easter Sunday in 1900 and began married life on a farm in Section 27 of Holst Township.  They had four children:  Ellen (1901), James (1902), Frank (Marvin) (1908) and Mary Ester (1911). The children grew up on the farm and attended a local country school. The boys helped their dad out on the farm.

The Blair family has a tragic history. Son James (“Jimmie”) was climbing through a barbwire fence while out hunting when his 16-gauge shotgun accidentally discharged into his chest. Frank and Mary Ester were with him at the time and he told them that it wasn’t necessary to call the doctor – he believed he was dying. They called Dr. Campbell and Dr. Covey anyway, but Jimmie died from loss of blood 45 minutes later before the doctors arrived. He was 18 years old.

Ten years later, Mary was driving a team and buggy to visit her sister, Margaret Flynn who lived in the area. She was struck by a truck and killed on December 10, 1930. Four years after her death her husband Jim found out he had cancer. He passed away at the hospital in Bagley in November of 1934. 

Frank registered for the draft on October 16, 1940 before the United States entered WWII. He was a tall man of 32, weighing 167 pounds with gray eyes and black hair. At the time he was living in Big Falls, Minnesota and had been the last two years. He listed his next of kin as his sister Mary Ester, (Mrs. Iron Ingalls), in Bagley. He noted that he had to wear glasses.

Frank was inducted into the Army on May 29th, 1942 at age 33. He was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. He was assigned to the 63rd Coast Artillery Corps, 39th Coast Artillery Brigade, 1st Battalion.  Unfortunately, he didn’t survive to be assigned with his unit. He contracted pneumonia just three weeks after his arrival and died on June 18, 1942. He was 33 years old. 

Funeral services for Frank were held at the Congregational Church in Bagley. His sisters saw to his burial near his parents in the Bagley City Cemetery and an upright marble veteran’s marker was installed on his grave.