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August 20, 2009
About Mark Blair
BLAIR, MARK MILLER, a resident of Alexandria, VA died in the evening on Sunday, June 26, 2005 of multiple organ failure.
He was the son of the late Janice Miller Blair and Raymond Minett (Jones) Blair. He departed this life peacefully with his family at his bedside, at Alexandria Hospital after a long illness. Beloved husband of 42 years to Carol Carr Blair; devoted father of Nancy and Douglas.
obituary (Age 70)
Mark Blair, a native of Virginia, was a renowned Appalachian Dulcimer craftsman. He made his first dulcimer in 1973 (from a kit I understand, this first dulcimer is owned by my mother's sister Patricia Webmaster Mark). After building several dulcimers out of locally supplied wood, Mark started driving out into the Virginia countryside and began buying up odd lots of old, seasoned native woods. Nothing escaped his sharp eye - even some weathered cedar rails in his own backyard were soon transformed into tops for the dulcimers that began to emerge from his workshop. Over time he received numerous awards and "best in show" citations for his craftsmanship. Mark had a design patent for parts of his work, and the sound holes in his dulcimers have a registered trademark.
Mark was a photographer by profession who established himself as one of the nation's foremost dulcimer makers. He was listed with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a contemporary American Musical Instrument Maker. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington purchased a Blair Dulcimer and commissioned Mark to do repair and restoration work on some of the old musical instruments in the Smithsonian collection.
Together, Mark and his wife Carol performed on local radio; participated in concerts in the Washington D.C. area; played hymns on the dulcimer at First Baptist Church in Alexandria, where the Blairs are members; provided programs about American folk music for the Voice of America; conducted annual workshops on dulcimer playing at the Smithsonian; led classes at the Fairfax County (Virginia) Recreation Department; and instructed private students.
Mark and Carol Blair also co-authored two books of dulcimer music, "Best Loved Hymns Arranged for the Appalachian Dulcimer" in 1976 and "Christmas and Easter Hymns Dulcimer" in 1979.
Excerpts taken from Mark Blair's 2005 Obituary and "Best Loved Hymns Arranged for the Appalachian Dulcimer" ©1976 by Mark Blair