Funeral services and Mass of Christian Burial for Dr. John T. Blong, 66, a resident of Bettendorf, will be Monday, April 5, 2010, at 11a.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, 4097 18th St., Bettendorf. Visitation was Sunday, April 4, at St. John Vianney. Additional visitation will be at the church in the gathering space on Monday from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery. Dr. Blong died Thursday, April 1, 2010, at his residence. Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home assisted the family with arrangements.
John Thomas Blong was born March 1, 1944, in Stacyville, Iowa, a son of Dr. Theodore and Doris (Hewitt) Blong. He was united in marriage to Mary E. Brown December 28, 1965.
Dr. John T. Blong joined the Eastern Iowa Community College District in 1978, serving as vice-chancellor of administration from 1978 to 1986 and president of Scott Community College from 1982 to 1986 before becoming chancellor from 1986 to 2004. He was highly respected for his strong fiscal management, and his visionary leadership earned EICCD a national reputation for excellence, innovation and integrity. During his tenure, the district was well known for pioneering initiatives in the areas of continuous quality improvement, distance education, environmental technology training and international collaboration. He was an excellent mentor, with many former employees who went on from EICCD to successful careers as community college presidents and administrators. The international Association of Community College Trustees selected him as its Central Region and National Chief Executive Officer of the Year in 2003.
Dr. Blong was deeply involved in and committed to the community. He served on the boards of Rejuvenate Davenport, Downtown Davenport Development Corporation and the NewVentures Center, helping to bring life back to downtown Davenport. He also provided leadership on the boards of the Quad City Development Group, Iowa Public Television and Palmer Chiropractic University. Most importantly, he focused his efforts on creating forward-thinking partnerships that expanded the capacity of all partners to serve the needs of the community. He worked closely with business and industry, K-12 schools, four-year colleges and universities, and community organizations to enhance learning opportunities not only for community college students, but also for all eastern Iowans, with the goal of ensuring a well-trained workforce for the region. The results of some of those partnerships include the Kahl Educational Center in downtown Davenport, the Graphic Arts Technology Center in Clinton, the Blong Technology Center in northwest Davenport, numerous articulation and transfer agreements with regional colleges and universities, and the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center, a National Science Foundation Center of Excellence.
Though dedicated to his work, the primary focus in Dr. Blong’s life was his family. His children gave him four grandchildren who adored him and specially referred to him as “Papa John.” His lifelong partner, Mary, shared his love for their children, grandchildren and education.
He is survived by his wife, Mary of Bettendorf and their children and spouses; a daughter, Laura (Rick) Burkamper, and their children, Alex and Kaitlyn all of Bettendorf; a son, Jack (Theresa) Blong, and their children Rachel and Mathew all of Swisher; his sisters, Elaine (Quentin) Blake, Texas, Ruth (Dan) Haggerty of Arizona, Carol (Jim) Charbonneau of Illinois; and a brother, Ted Blong of Arizona. He was preceded in death by his parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the German American Heritage Center, 712 W. 2nd Street, Davenport, IA 52802 or to the Blong Scholarship Fund, c/o Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, 852 Middle Road, Suite 100, Bettendorf, IA 52722.
Online remembrances and condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting Dr. Blong’s obituary at www.hmdfuneralhome.com