Meet a Member: Donald Blair

Name: Donald W. “Don” Blair.
Where I live: On the Gulf of Mexico in Venice, Fla.
Where and when I was born: In Beth Israel Hospital, Newark, N.J., on 3-3-33. (Mom knew I wouldn’t be very good with numbers.) I grew up in Irvington and finished high school at Flemington, where the Lindbergh kidnapping trial was held.
Family: I and my two wives (one at a time!) are very proud of our three wonderful children and six grandchildren.
Military service: U.S. Army, 1953-55.
Education: After six months at the Cambridge School of Radio and TV in Manhattan, N.Y., I got my first job in radio in Connecticut doing record hops galore as a DJ.
Occupation: Semi-retired after a long broadcasting career. After 10 years in local radio, I joined the Mutual Network. From 1966-89, I worked at Mutual, WCBS Radio, ABC Entertainment and NBC.
I covered astronaut splashdowns on three Gemini missions and two Apollo missions from aircraft carriers, including the USS Hornet. For Apollo 11, I was the lone radio voice to the world, at the time the largest radio audience ever. My book detailing the experience, Splashdown: NASA and the Navy, came out in 2004.
How I got where I am today: I found decades ago that I could no longer take the so-called good road and voice the praises of figures that can only be born of myth, superstition, fear and, regrettably, hatred.
In humanism I have found good friends, good sense and common ground for intelligent discussion. My wife attends church. I of course do not. We do not debate our differences. It wouldn’t change anything and we both know that.
Where I’m headed: I’m struggling to write a second space-related book on the benefits (e.g., the medical breakthroughs such as the cochlear ear implant) of the space program. The payback from these technological transfers to our everyday lives makes NASA the most rewarding federal program of our times.
I’m also writing a play based on the letters of Ben Franklin and a paperback on the vanishing world of American-made automobiles. I lecture on the space program when we go on cruises once or twice a year.
Person in history I admire and why: Charles Darwin is up there with the best of them. Another fine individual is John Shelby Spong, the former Episcopal bishop of Newark, a full-fledged realist. I might add Phil Donahue, a sorely missed clear-headed liberal voice very much needed in broadcasting today. He had the guts to give Madalyn Murray O’Hair a full hour. (She did not do our cause much good. Insults and ridicule will never advance our beliefs.)
A quotation I like: Man Created God — Get It Right. It’s my bumper sticker, which gets many thumbs-ups at traffic lights.
These are a few of my favorite things: Fine family and good friends, who all laugh at my jokes even on the fourth or fifth rendering.
These are not: Easy — way too many prancing, shouting men and women of the cloth on TV, even during the week. When I hear them say God said this or God said that, I want to reach out and touch someone — forcefully.
Why can’t we get even one person who shares our take on life on the big tube?
Why I’m a freethinker: When I hear some horse’s rear end with a bad hairpiece telling Haitians they had it coming, or a Swaggart tearfully confessing he sinned (but only after getting caught), it reinforces my ever-growing belief in nonbelief.
The Crank Mail underlines why I am a solid humanist. The filth they hand out is a crystal-clear picture of their insecurity. Go with decency, respect, kindness and love, and you have all that you will ever need.
Best way I promote freethought: I circulate copies of Freethought Today at all our monthly humanist luncheons and encourage people to subscribe.
One of our steadfast attendees is the great Barbara G. Walker, whose wonderful writings appear often in your pages. In her excellent essay on death, she quotes Ecclesiastes 9:5 and 9:10 on the nonexistence of an afterlife: “For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward. . . . There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation