One of LEA’s founders, James Louis Blilie, 86, passed away the night of 26-Mar-2010. Blilie met Dan Pilla and Herman Hettinger in 1972 and organized an ad hoc group of citizens concerned about irresponsible state spending. They would study issues, get copies of bills, and evaluate them according to the LEA Credo. James Blilie and Mac Mahurin finalized the first LEA report in 1973, covering the 1972 session.
Blilie is survived by his wife of 51 years, Harriet (Ventress) Blilie and three sons, Charles (wife Shelley and daughter Kirsten), James (wife Phyllis and sons Joe and Jamie), and Jon (wife Bobbi and son Kai). He was a loving father and husband. He was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota where he graduated from Wilson High School, the grandson of immigrants from Norway. He flew a full tour of 35 missions as a USAAF Lieutenant serving as navigator and bombardier in B-24s over Germany and occupied France in late 1944 as part of the 8th Air Force out of East Anglia, United Kingdom. He graduated in 1948 from the University of Minnesota with a degree in electrical engineering. He served 21 years in the Air Force, serving in, among other places, Manila the Philippines, Thule Greenland, Japan, and many bases in the USA. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Air Force in 1969, before having another career with UNISYS (was Sperry Univac) as a computer engineer and technical writer. He was a World War II veteran, Korean War veteran, and a Vietnam- Era veteran. He was a talented painter, photographer, and writer. He also enjoyed amateur radio (HAM) building his own radio sets, art, travel, literature, politics, and his family. He is sorely missed. Funeral 11 AM Wednesday at Our Saviors Lutheran Church, 1616 Olive St. West, Stillwater. Visitation 4-7 PM Tuesday at WULFF FUNERAL HOME, 1485 White Bear Ave., St. Paul, and one hour prior to service at church. Interment Morningside Cemetery. WULFF 651-776-1555