Ann Lyerly Blankenship, age 92 died in Jacksonville Wednesday February 12, 2019.
A native of Richmond, Va., she moved at the age of six, along with the Lyerly family, to Jacksonville, Fla. where her father, Dr. James G Lyerly, became the first neurosurgeon in the Southeast. Ann attended West Riverside Elementary School, John Gorrie Junior High and Robert E Lee High School and received her undergraduate degree in pre¬-med from Duke University in 1948. Ann married Hans Tanzler Jr. and spent the next three years working in the University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station as a chemical analyst, working on vegetables while her husband completed law school. Ann began her teaching career in 1955 as a math teacher at Lake Shore Junior High, while simultaneously earning her master’s degree in student counseling from the Univ. of Fla. The high light of her education career was being Dean of Women at Lee High School. As the first Lady of Jacksonville from 1966-1971, Ann was very active in the community serving on numerous boards and service organizations representing the mayor's office at civic and social events, ribbon cuttings and even a few ship christenings. She was instrumental in establishing the first Big Sister's Club of Jacksonville. In 1972 Ann married Dean Blankenship, Assistant Superintendent of Duval County Schools. She continued her work in public education until her retirement in 1981, preceding her husband by one year. Ann was an excellent athlete. She loved swimming, scuba diving, sky diving, playing tennis and won several golf tournaments. One of her favorite past times was snowmobile riding in Yellowstone National Park. Ann and Dean traveled extensively in their Airstream, sail boat, and airplane, and to many countries of the world. Ann was a very adventurous to new experiences, including, on one occasion, humorously coaxing Dean to join her in a Chinese morning exercise class in Shanghai on an outside pavilion, that included a little dancing to some familiar big band music.
Ann was a member of the Ortega United Methodist Church where she contributed to the work of the United Methodist Women's Organization. In July 2013 she and Dean moved to Moosehaven Retirement Community in Orange Park, Florida. Ann is survived by her husband, Dean Blankenship, one son, Hans Tanzler Ill and his wife Deborah Tanzler, Four Step Children, James Richard Blankenship and his wife Dr. Kandra Jones Blankenship, Deanna Elizabeth Ragan, Donna Lynne Driscoll and Dean B Blankenship Jr. She has two grandchildren, Dr. Emily Tanzler and Hans Tanzler IV along with four step grandchildren, Matthew Dean Ragan, Chelsea Regan, William (Billy) Ragan, Jamie Driscoll and Danielle Driscoll Brown.
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