Liam Blair, age 92, died at home surrounded by his loving family on May 22nd. His gentle affection and honorableness were felt by all who knew him, especially his dear wife, Doreen, and loving children, Colleen, James, Robert, and John. Throughout his life, Liam was a true gentleman. Not only was he magnanimous and always willing to give of himself to help others, he was a proud American, who never lost his Irish roots and heritage.
Liam, the son of the late Michael and Elizabeth Blair, was born on October 12, 1922 in Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland. He graduated from the Christian Brother’s School in Newry. At the age of eightteen, he enlisted in the British Army serving during WWII, attaining the rank of Sergeant Major.
In 1948, at the age of 26, Liam left his parents and eleven siblings and sailed to America on the Queen Mary looking for the opportunities and goodness America had to offer and to follow the girl-next-door whom he loved. Liam married Mary ‘Doreen’ Sheridan on September 11, 1949, beginning a union that would flourish and last for 66 years.
Upon arriving in America, Liam settled in the Bronx and worked for the Franklin Bank in New York City. A few years later, he transferred to the Great American Insurance Company, where he discovered and learned how to be great American. In 1954, he became a United States citizen, an honor he always cherished. In 1961, Liam met Carl Rowlison, who offered him an opportunity in the suburbs of Connecticut, and in 1964, Liam, his wife, and three children moved to Norwalk, where he lived for 51 years. Liam worked at the Rowlison Agency Insurance on Belden Avenue, and in 1981, he purchased the business and moved it to Liberty Square, East Norwalk, where he owned and operated it until his passing. Today, the business lives on through his son James. Anyone who knew him well, knew that Liam worked tirelessly six days a week. If the American flag was flying outside Liberty Square, Liam was in the office. Liam was the true image of the American Dream and as he once said, “I’m so proud of this country. The opportunities were not available in Ireland. Here there is no limit to what a person can do if he wants to.”
Liam loved Norwalk and became an active citizen, businessman, and resident. In 1971, he joined the Norwalk Rotary Club, and in 1974 served as president of the organization. Liam was honored with the Paul Harris Fellowship and in 2010, became an Honorary Rotarian Member. Liam was extremely active in the Rotary Literacy Program, delivering dictionaries to elementary schools throughout Norwalk. Given his roots in a small town in Ireland, Liam was also a proud member of the John O’Donnell Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, joining the organization in 1966 and forming relationships that would last a lifetime. Additionally, Liam got involved in the Salvation Army locally, serving on its board, and working to rebuild that board and find a more suitable home for the agency. For over 30 years, the Rowlison Agency Insurance was a proud sponsor of the Cranbury Baseball League. Liam also served on the board of the Norwalk YMCA and was Chairman of Easter Seals.
Liam had a passion for singing, and could always be heard singing a hymn or an Irish tune. In addition, he was devoted Catholic and active parishioner of St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Norwalk. Merging the two, Liam joined the Saint Philip’s Church Choir, where he sang each Sunday for over 30 years.
While he followed his American Dream, Liam’s most cherished accomplishment was his role as “Dad,” “Pop,” and “Grandpa.” His love for his four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren was immeasurable.
In addition to his wife. Liam is survived by a daughter, Colleen, her husband James Sposta of Norwalk and their son James and his wife Karen; a son James, his wife Connie and their daughters Kelly and Megan of Norwalk; a son, Robert of Lake Stevens, Washington and his daughter Tiffany; and a son, John, his wife Hope and their children Liam, Caitlin, and Dillon of Norwalk. Liam also leaves three great-grandchildren: Anthony, Angela, and Nicholas Sposta. He is also survived by his sisters Marie and Mary Rose. Liam was was predeceased by his sisters Maureen, Bridget, Rita, Josephine, Philomena, Bernadette, and Theresa, and his brothers Michael and James.
Calling hours will be at the Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Ave, Norwalk, on Tuesday, May 26th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Phillip Church,1 Father Conlon Place, Norwalk on Wednesday, May 27th at 11:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Salvation Army, 14 Byington Pl, Norwalk, CT 06850 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For directions or to leave an online condolence, please go to collins-funeral.com.