Hamilton historian, transportation guru dies at age 82

Even in his teens, Hamilton native James “Jim” L. Blount, was having an impact on his hometown. And it only got bigger from there.

As a student, Blount, a 1953 Hamilton High School graduate, was quarterback during 1952, and worked on the school newspaper and for a radio show on WMOH. He would go on to become editor of the Journal-News, where his opinion columns pushed for a multitude of improvements, including significant highway projects in the city and county that have come to be.

Blount died Tuesday at Fort Hamilton Hospital. He was 82.

RELATED: Hamilton praises one of its titans of transportation

“What Jim did after he retired was strictly volunteer,” said his wife of 58 years, Jackie (Steigerwalt) Blount. “And he didn’t care who got the credit, as long as the job got done.”

A member of the Butler County Transportation Improvement District board since 1994, including chairman in recent years, he was a major force in creating road improvements that included the Ohio 129 link from Interstate 75 to Hamilton; in the Liberty Center area; the Ohio 4 Bypass; and South Hamilton Crossing, whose overpass was named after him in July.

A little-known fact about Blount: He was the press-box announcer and record keeper for the Cincinnati Bengals from their beginning in 1968 through 2008, missing only two home games in those 41 seasons.

MORE: 3 ways residents can get involved in Plan Hamilton going forward

He worked for the Cincinnati Enquirer while earning a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Cincinnati, and later earned a master’s in history from Miami in 1965.

He taught high-school history in Hamilton for six years. In 1963, he started working full-time for the Journal-News, becoming the editor in the early 1970s. In 1986, he returned to teaching civics and history at Wilson Junior High School.

He was named Hamilton Citizen of the Year for 2005 and was Hamilton City Schools’ Teacher of the Year for 1991-1992. He also was inducted into the city school district’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Butler County Historical Society’s Distinguished Historian Award in 2001.

MORE: Shop owner lauded as Hamilton’s Small Business Person of the Year

He also was Hamilton’s official historian, and wrote more than a dozen books about local history.

Richard O Jones, another Hamilton historian and former Journal-News employee, called Blount’s passing “a profound loss to Hamilton and Butler County. Not only did he have an unsurpassed knowledge of the history of the area, gleaned from a lifetime of research, he was generous in sharing the stories of Hamilton’s growth and in passing along his wisdom to make this a better place to live.”

Jones added: “I was always a little disappointed that our respective tenures at the Journal-News did not overlap.

“(Blount was) always very supportive and encouraging, always ready to answer a question, always ready to speak to the truth,” he said.

MORE: ‘When that happened, I knew I was going to like living in Hamilton’

Blount was born June 4, 1935, oldest of James and Julia (Mignerey) Blount’s five children. He was preceded in death by son Brian, who died in 1997.

Aside from his wife, he is survived by his daughter Lori, grandchildren James (Anabel) and Devin, great grandchildren Ella, Maya and Leo Shook. Siblings include Judy (Ron) Hartman and Jean (Bill) Eads of Hamilton, Jerry (Dorothy) Blount and Joyce Blount of Arizona.

Visitation will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Weigel Funeral Home. A short memorial service will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Afterward, in a private ceremony, Blount will be buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Memorials may be directed to The Blount Family Scholarship, Miami University-Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd, Hamilton, OH 45011 or the Brian J. Blount Memorial Scholarship, Hamilton Community Foundation, 319 N. 3rd St., Hamilton, OH 45011.

Next Up in Local

Xenia house offers help for women struggling with addiction
Xenia house offers help for women struggling with addiction

Women looking for treatment to drug or alcohol addiction have a new option in Xenia with Her Story, a nonprofit organization that provides housing for those waiting to get into recovery. Three women are currently residing in the home, which was opened in late August, and calls are coming in daily, according to Her Story’s founder and president...
Woman hospitalized after stabbing at Dayton home
Woman hospitalized after stabbing at Dayton home

Police are investigating after a woman was stabbed inside a Dayton home Wednesday morning.  Officers and medics responded to the report around 10:15 a.m. at the home in the 1200 block of Canfield Avenue.  The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment, but their condition was not immediately known.  Homicide detectives...
Crews battle house fire on East High Street in Springfield
Crews battle house fire on East High Street in Springfield

Six of the units in the building suffered heavy smoke damage, and the fire spread to the attic, officials said, noting that the tenants won’t be able to staying in their apartments tonight. There were no injuries reported, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Firefighters are battling a house fire on East High Street in Springfield...
3 reasons to be a part of beloved Dayton Halloween tradition — the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow
3 reasons to be a part of beloved Dayton Halloween tradition — the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow

One of Dayton’s most cherished Halloween traditions, The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow, is right around the corner. This means that Dayton will soon be basking in the glow of hundreds (if not more) of beautifully carved pumpkins near the Dayton Art Institute and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on Oct. 30-31. The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow...
Clark County Municipal Court cases
Clark County Municipal Court cases

CASES CALLED MONDAY INCLUDED: Tiann T. Burton, 19, of 1013 Pine St., burglary, kidnapping, dismissed - prosecutor request. Jessica L. Fenwick, 28, of 1018 Middle St., possession of drug abuse instrument, guilty, 11 days jail; tamper with evidence, dismissed - prosecutor request. Dashawn L. Jackson, 19, of 301 Selma Road, Rear, complicity to receiving...
More Stories