William Blatnick

Bill passed away in San Bernardino, Ca. just six weeks before his 99th birthday. He was surrounded by the love of his family in the comfort of his home of 73 years. Bill is survived by: his sons Terry and Michael, daughter- in-law Lisa (wife to Terry), and grandson Brian. He was born in Durango, Colorado to Clara and Anton Blatnick who immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia in 1905. Some years after moving his family to San Diego, Bill’s father traded their home for a farm in Fontana, Ca. Bill’s three brothers, Tony, Harry and Eddie and sister, Helen, worked after school to help their parents manage the poultry ranch and citrus groves that would keep them fed throughout the Depression. Local families enjoyed gathering at the Slovenian lodge to share their homemade Slovenian pastries, sausage and wine. An honorable man, he served his country by enlisting in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Iwo Jima during WWII. A proud member of our Greatest Generation, we thank him and all veterans for their service. Prior to his deployment, he married Darlyne Stephens on May 17, 1942; their marriage lasted 73 years until her passing in 2015. Bill’s deep commitment to family was proven by his unfailing support of them during their health challenges. He also supported Darlyne’s volunteer work at St. Bernardine Hospital for forty years. He was a strong, reserved man and his kindness is what everyone remembers most about him. William F. Blatnick will be remembered with admiration for his leadership in the banking business. The early years of his career were spent at Bank of America and American National Bank. Later, while serving as branch manager at the Bank of California, Redlands, Bill conceived of the idea to open another bank in Redlands to serve the broader needs of the community. Through his vision and tenacity, the Bank of Redlands was born in 1974 and would expand to include six branches throughout the Inland Empire. The Bank of Redlands was known for being a friendly, community bank that offered innovative services such as satellite branches in supermarkets, drive-thru and Saturday banking as well offering its employees stock options. The employees fondly referred to him as ‘Mr. B.’ Bill played high school football, baseball and basketball. Because of this early love of sports, he became a lifelong fan. He was an avid baseball player and enjoyed coaching youth baseball. In 1958, he served as president of the Gridiron Club which supported the football program at San Bernardino Valley College. He also served as chairman of the Orange Show Bowl, a bowl game for local junior colleges. Bill golfed at Redlands Country Club and Arrowhead Golf Club, where he served as president. He played weekly until he was 90 years old. He was also a member of the Big Ten deep sea fishing group and looked forward every summer to fishing with his sons and friends. Parting with Bill is a challenge for our family and there are few words to adequately express how deeply we loved and appreciated him. Simply, he was a fine man in every way and we were blessed by his long presence in our lives. Due to concerns regarding Covid, services will be held for immediate family only. We are comforted by the thought that his memory will be held dear by so many.

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