Richard A. Bleistine was born in Lebanon, PA, on 14 June 1933. He graduated from Lebanon High School in the Class of 1951. He was married for 59 years to the late Joan Bleistine with whom he shared three children. He was employed by Harpel’s in Lebanon for 48 years. Mr. Bleistine served on the Lebanon City Council for 24 years and was the first Chair of the New Form of Government Board.
Richard has a long history of military and veteran service. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy from 1951-1959. He served for four years in the active Navy and four in the reserve as a Gunners Mate 3rd Class. For the last 53 years, Mr. Bleistine had been a life member of the Lebanon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 23, and he served 45 of those years on the post-Honor Guard with the additional duties of Secretary and Treasurer. During this period, he served more than 12,000 military funeral honors. Mr. Bleistine was a life member of the Navy Ship Club and Plank Owner, the AmVets, as well as the American Legion for 63 years. He was a past Commander of the American Legion’s Voiture 55 40 et 8. He was also a life member of the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery Memorial Council. Additionally, Mr. Bleistine served as President and Treasurer of the Lebanon Veteran Advisory Council which organizes the Memorial Day parade and ceremony and the Veterans Day ceremony for the City of Lebanon. Notably, he served as Chair of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to save Fort Indiantown Gap in the 1990s.
Mr. Bleistine was also a volunteer firefighter with the Liberty Steam Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 3 in Lebanon for the last 65 years, and he spent 45 of those years on the active fire line. He served many years as the President of the Company. Mr. Bleistine was also a member of the Liberty Fire Company Marching Club. He was a life member of the Lebanon County Firefighters Association and served many years as Treasurer. Mr. Bleistine was also a life member and past President and Treasurer of the State of Pennsylvania Firefighters Association.
In Mr. Bleistine’s spare time, he held memberships in Mt. Olivet Lodge F&AM, Tall Cedars of Lebanon Harrisburg Consistory, and Zembo Shrine.
Mr. Bleistine’s awards include Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Medal, Pennsylvania Military Funeral Honors Service Ribbon, Lebanon Chamber of Commerce’s General Frank Smoker Beyond the Call Award for 2019, Pennsylvania Firefighter of the Year Award for 2014, and the Frank G. Ceresini Distinguished Fire Service Award for 2011.
He is survived by his sons Richard A. Bleistine, Jr., and his wife Bonnie of Lebanon and Raymond W. Bleistine of Jonestown; daughter Michelle M. wife of Gregory A. Whitman of Cleona; grandchildren Thomas, Christopher, Tannon, and Jeremy; great-grandchildren Amanda, Chelsea, Hannah, Tyler, Michael, Damien, Emily, Thomas, Lucy, and Caleb; and several great-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his grandson Ryan.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at Kreamer & Lum Funeral Home & Crematory, Rt. 72 & Camp Meeting Rd., Jonestown. A viewing will be held on Tuesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the funeral home and one hour prior to the service on Wednesday. Interment with military honors will follow at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Lebanon Co. Humane Society, 150 Ramona Rd., Myerstown, PA 17067.