American Veteran 01

Donald Henry Blyn

August 7, 1929 ~ January 12, 2021 (age 91)


Donald Henry Blyn

Stuart, FL - Donald Henry Blyn, born in Brooklyn, New York, August 7, 1929, to Morris Blyn and Martha Blyn (née Geyer) passed away on January 12, 2021.

Often he told stories of his days trolley car-jumping with boyhood friends from the neighborhood of Bay Ridge, back to Coney Island where he had spent his earliest days in childhood. Donald's first memory was that of the Coney Island boardwalk fire of 1932, as he stood on a roof as a small boy of nearly three years, viewing the flames as they burned their way towards the family's apartment building near Surf Avenue.

When asked how he was capable of memory at such an early age, he answered that it was a sight he could never forget.

As a Boy Scout, Donald reached the rank of Eagle Scout, graduated from Fort Hamilton High School, class of 1947, then Hartwick College, class of 1951.

Drafted into the United States Armed Forces, he served with the 45th Military Police Company of the 45th Infantry Division—the division with the distinctive Thunderbird insignia. Corporal Donald Blyn was awarded two bronze stars.

Passing the law school entrance examination in Seoul, Mr. Blyn entered Brooklyn Law School in 1953, graduating in 1956, before passing the bar on his first try.

Honorably discharged from the U.S. army, Don soon met his future wife, Elizabeth Montgomery, 67 years ago at Julius' in Greenwich Village, New York City. He was instantly captivated by the statuesque blonde with the pixie haircut and vivacious smile. They were married in 1957 at the First Presbyterian Church on lower 5th Avenue.

As a young couple in the West Village, they frequented such notable establishments as the White Horse Tavern, socializing with a circle of artist friends; one of whom painted Don's portrait - all whilst experiencing the zeitgeist that was NYC in the 1950s - and holding professional day jobs in midtown.

In time they moved to Long Island and began a family. Donald had been instrumental in establishing the Baldwin Harbor Yacht Club's presence in Freeport, along with the construction of its new clubhouse, then serving as commodore, before becoming a longtime boater at Boatmen's Harbor Marina of Cutchogue, N.Y.

He spent many summers with his family there and on yearly vacations to Martha's Vineyard, Block Island, Nantucket and Mystic Seaport.

Having worked as a real estate attorney earlier in his career, Mr. Blyn moved on to found Intercounty Mortgagee in 1973, holding the office of President until 1985, before selling the company to and continuing as President of Norstar Bank, until its' merger with Fleet Bank in 1987.

Intercounty Mortgagee, prior to its' purchase by Norstar Bank, had become the largest independent mortgage banker in the state of New York. Mr. Blyn afterwards settled in Roxbury, CT and Stuart, FL.

After successfully battling the first of five episodes of cancer - triumphant over each of them - and stepping away from the achievements of his business career, he could be found happily seated in his tractor, mowing his fields until the age of 89, and inviting his friends to pick apples in his orchard each September.

He'd deep sea fished with his Hatteras; he'd flown his beloved Bonanza airplane near and far; raced his Italian sports cars - stayed behind the wheel of fast cars, and avoided the walker until he was 90 years of age.

Admired by many for his larger than life persona, the adventuresome boy from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, who swam the Verrazzano Narrows and traveled so far in life, shared his wisdom and experience with those whom he mentored in business and finance, in aviation and boating and inestimably, in the art of living life itself.

He is remembered for never forgetting where he came from, for his integrity in business and in the bonds of friendship and mostly, his devotion to his family. He is cherished for his sense of humor.

Donald is survived by his widow, Elizabeth Montgomery Blyn; daughter, Genevieve, whom he called Jenny; son, David; daughter-in-law, Laura and granddaughters, Lily, Alice and Stella.

He is predeceased by his guiding spirit (and co-pilot) during this lifetime, his brother Henry Blyn.

Donald embodied those ethos common to the Silent Generation with its can do/no excuses orientation towards life. As a veteran of the Korean War, when questioned about the ""Forgotten War,"" he'd quip, ""I forgot about it.""

He passed as potently as the manner in which he lived, and we are at peace in knowing that his Spirit flies free.

A celebration of Don's life will take place later this year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Mystic Seaport or a charity in support of veterans of foreign wars.


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