David Stark Blickenderfer was born on June 19, 1925 in Lancaster, PA. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 29, 2021 after a brief illness, in Taos, NM.
He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Kaye Murphy Blickenderfer; father William Eugene Blickenderfer; mother Miriam May Stark; brother John William Blickenderfer and spouse; parents-in-law James & Clara Murphy; brothers-in-law William, Jimmy and Larry Murphy; sisters-in-law Margaret and Geraldine Murphy and Dorothy Spezze.
David served his country in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945, both of his grandfathers, served in the Civil War. He started his career in Education in 1951, he moved to Taos in 1967. David was employed with Taos Municipal Schools as a teacher, principal and held other titles before his retirement in 1985. He was a long-time resident and educator in Taos.
As perhaps one of the luckiest and happiest people around, he taught himself to play trumpet by ear in high school and played big-band ballads and jazz into his 60’s. Performing at school dances, even in occupied Germany in WWII, and finally the TCA in the 80’s. Thanks to a typing class in high school, he breezed through the war working as an administrative assistant, thus being spared the horrors of the battlefield.
After an honorable discharge, he studied language, German and French, on the GI bill, because “it was interesting.” After he graduated, he thought he should maybe also get a job, so he went back to school for his teaching certificate, thus beginning a many decades long teaching career.
Moving from PA to a school position in Rocky Ford, Colorado, he often visited friends in Taos during the 60’s, becoming involved with the art scene and partnering in an art gallery. He finally moved permanently to Taos in the 60’s after accepting a teaching position at Taos Elementary. He eventually became principal of Enos Garcia for a number of years. David was also the first Special Education Coordinator in the district.
A confirmed bachelor, David married another long-time teacher of music in Taos, Mary Kaye Murphy, when he was 60 years old. They had a happy retirement together, after substitute teaching in all the Taos schools, playing trumpet and drums, taking pictures and collecting art, while Mary Kaye took private piano lessons in their home.
He was frequently recognized around town by the 100’s (perhaps thousands) of former students and if he couldn’t remember them, he would say, “you probably were one of the good ones, cause I would have remembered you if you caused any trouble!”
David was an avid lover of music, lover of language, lover of reading, lover of art, and ultimately a lover of life. His motto was, “if it ain’t fun, don’t do it!”
He is survived by sisters-in-law Patricia, Barbara Dawes and Frances Coody (Carl); brother-in-law Ralph Spezze and many dear friends.
Per David’s request, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Stray Hearts, Taos Feral Feline Friends and Taos Feeds Taos in David’s honor.
The family of David Stark Blickenderfer has entrusted the care of their loved one to DeVargas Funeral Home of Taos. 866-657-4019 www.devargastaos.com