Saturday, Oct. 19 was a day of loss, but also a celebration of life for Paicines resident and BenitoLink reporter Blaire Strohn.
Blaire passed away on Sept. 25 after living with and doing her best to work around cystic fibrosis. She came from a close, loving South County ranching family and her incredible personal drive meant she had a full, productive life.
Her family held a memorial service and celebration of life at the main barn at Paicines Ranch on Oct. 19. A sea of cowboy hats filled the old ranch barn as an estimated 400 friends and family members attended the service.
Very petite but full of spunk and courage, Blaire Strohn was raised alongside her brother Blane by parents Gene and Shana near Paicines. She went to Tres Pinos School, graduated from San Benito High School and went off to college for a degree in Agricultural Communication from Fresno State. (Full obituary here)
Interested in agriculture and covering stories about the southern part of San Benito County, Blaire joined BenitoLink as a reporter in late 2017 and produced stories until a few days before her passing. She earned a master’s degree in International Agricultural Communication during the time she worked at BenitoLink.
Through her writing, Blaire shared her rugged and spacious part of the county, its history, the western lifestyle, and culture with BenitoLink readers. Growing up in South County, she knew all the kids and their families competing in the local rodeos and horse events. She enjoyed writing about the Horse Show Parade entries and was familiar with all the local Rodeo Queen contestants. She also wrote informational articles about new approaches in agriculture or about workshops on soil, water and reducing fire danger. When it came to her South County beat, she knew who and what she was talking about.
At her celebration of life, Blaire’s obituary was read aloud and then several speakers shared their personal experiences with her. Each, in their own way, recognized Blaire’s admirable determination, feisty personality, and positive outlook on life. Several short stories reminded the crowd of her “spitfire” personality.
There were a few short prayers for Blaire and her family, and a photo/video slideshow with moments over the course of her life.
Following the slideshow, 19th Hole Bar and Grill provided a meal for those at the celebration of life. Attendees also contributed side dishes and desserts, pot luck-style!
Friends and family swapped tales and visited at their leisure as the afternoon slipped away.