Jason Blankenship
Jason Blankenship, a resident of Albuquerque, N.M., and a staff member at UNM's CASAA, died Tuesday, Oct. 29 as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident. Photo credit: David Sandum

Jason Blankenship, a resident of Albuquerque, N.M., died Tuesday, Oct. 29 as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident. Born in Freeport, Texas on Dec. 18, 1969, Blankenship is survived by his parents James F. and Barbara Blankenship of Oyster Creek, Texas.

Blankenship was a staff member at the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions (CASAA) where he was a research scientist and member of a team advancing the field of study in the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. His research involved travels to South Africa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, North Carolina and Italy. He had great respect, admiration and love for those he worked with and was devoted to his research and believed the result of their work could help those affected.

“Jason was a rising young scientist, committed to research, to CASAA, and to UNM,” said Distinguished Professor of Psychology and CASAA Director Barbara S. McCrady. “He generously shared his skills as a scientist and his kindness as a person with all of us.”

Blankenship worked in a number of capacities at UNM over the past 10 years including several years in various roles for Human Resources. Most recently, he was instrumental in the success of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder work that has been ongoing at CASAA.

“Much pain and sorrow comes with Jason’s passing,” said Research Professor Dr. Phil May, now at the University of North Carolina, who worked directly with Blankenship while he was at UNM. “I will miss him immensely.  Both personally and professionally, Jason has been like a son to me. Especially for the past three years when he came back to work with our fetal alcohol spectrum disorders research team for the second time, he, I, and other members of our research team were able to work closely together most every day on some extremely important topics, data, and academic papers to advance this field of study.

“He was loved by all for his wonderful personality, his thoughtfulness, his dedication, self-discipline, and loyalty. He has been the most highly-skilled data analyst with whom I have ever worked,” May added.

A graduate of Angleton High School, Blankenship attended Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology.  He received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

In addition to his parents, he leaves behind a loving family including aunts and uncles, Dorothy Adams of Lake Jackson, Texas, John and Maggie Blankenship of Angleton, Texas, Dr. Lawrence and Donna Jablecki, and Jim and Karen Terrell, also of Angleton; and many loving cousins and dear friends.

He was preceded in death by grandparents: James W. and Beulah Blankenship and maternal grandparents Anton K. and Pauline Partin; uncle, James A. and Barbara Partin; cousins James Partin and Tommy Speed.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Palms Funeral Home Chapel in Angleton, Texas. His life-long friend, Patrick Yates, conducted the service. Patrick and his lovely wife, Robin have answered God’s call for service and both are nearing completion of their studies for the ministry. 

Blankenship loved his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Albuquerque and found great joy in the role he played as a “wish granter” to those children whose lives had been touched by tragic illness.

A memorial fund has also been established at New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union (NMEFCU). If you would like to make a donation to this fund, you may do so at any branch of NMEFCU and ask to make a donation to the “Jason Blankenship Memorial Fund.” The hope is that enough funds will be raised to earn a Make-A-Wish Star in Jason’s name which will grant a wish for a child.

A donation check may also be sent to:

Jason Blankenship Memorial Fund - Member #4266260
New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 85360 Albuquerque, NM 87198

A memorial service is planned in Albuquerque for Thursday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. at the UNM Alumni Memorial Chapel. The service will be followed by the planting of a memorial rose bush. Details of that service can be found on the UNM CASAA website.