Cover photo for Frederick Michael Blank's Obituary
Frederick Michael Blank Profile Photo
1943 Frederick 2023

Frederick Michael Blank

May 2, 1943 — December 5, 2023



“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  Nelson Henderson


Frederick Michael Blank, age 80 of Neshkoro passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. He was born in Salt Lake City, UT on May 2, 1943 to Carl Frederick Blank and Lila Hilma (Leppiaho) Blank. Fred grew up in Mundelein, IL and attended high school at Libertyville High School. Fred attended undergraduate college at Southern Illinois University, majoring in economics; he then attended Duke University for graduate school where he was awarded a PhD in economics. Fred spent a majority of his career as an economics professor at Ripon College, with other lecturing positions throughout his career at academic institutions including Valparaiso University, University of Wyoming (Laramie); University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh and St. Norbert’s College. In 1984, Fred was designated a Fulbright Scholar and both lectured and conducted research at the University of Papua New Guinea, a time he cherished.

Fondly nicknamed “The Professor,” Fred’s true love was for the land. He lived with his wife Jan until his passing in Neshkoro on the land he loved, honored and nurtured. Fred also loved fishing, rock and roll, his dogs (or house wolves as he called them), and took great pride in his collection of concert t-shirts and his ability to recite most lines from The Big Lebowski with ease. Fred was a member and supporter of Mensa, Prairie Enthusiasts, the Sierra Club, Arbor Day Foundation, Trout Unlimited and the Smithsonian Institute. 

Fred is survived by his wife: Jan Dreger Blank; son: Geoffrey Blank; daughter Hillary (Blank) Aiken; step-son: Abraham Winter; step-daughters Elizabeth (Winter) Kirchner (Matt Cater), Melissa Winter (Paul Darnick); grandsons Archer and August Aiken; step-granddaughters Abigail Kirchner and Railyn Darnick; sisters: Charlene Popke (Bob), Alanda Klein (Elmer); brother: Michael Blank; many nieces and nephews along with other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents. 

His family would like to extend their sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the nurses and staff at Generations Hospice and Whispering Pines Nursing Care for the care and compassion they showed Fred. 

The family will hold a private service at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, a memorial may be given to The Prairie Enthusiasts, Prairie Sands Chapter. The Prairie Enthusiasts is a nonprofit organization seeking to ensure the perpetuation and recovery of prairie, oak savanna, and other associated ecosystems of the Upper Midwest through protection, management, restoration and education.



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