Alpine, AL. – Earl Van Buren Blankenship, 89, passed away March 13, at Russell Medical Center, Alexander City, after a lengthy battle with dementia. He was the widower of Mary Lee Gardner Blankenship, his wife of almost 68 years. His funeral service will be 2:30 p.m., Saturday, March 25, at First Presbyterian Church in Talladega with the church’s pastor, Leeann Scarbrough officiating. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. Visitation at the church will begin at 1:30 p.m. prior to the service. Mr. Blankenship was born in Talladega to Edward Earl Blankenship and Abner Lois “Osie” Allison Blankenship on May 13, 1933. He graduated from Talladega High School. Van and Mary Lee were known throughout the area for their work as Van Blankenship Photography. They were always grateful to friends of the community who trusted him to capture their special memories. He was devoted to his wife and family. He was a man of deep faith who looked for beauty and goodness in people and God’s creation. He served as a deacon, elder, and Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian Church of Talladega. He was a commissioned lay pastor in the local presbytery. He was involved in professional photographers’ organizations at every level. He earned his Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman through the Professional Photographers of America. He was a frequent judge for PPA print competitions, from state to national. Van long represented Alabama on the PPA council. He was a past president of the Cheaha, Mississippi-Alabama (PPMA), and Southeastern Professional Photographers Associations (SEPPA). For a number of years, Mary Lee and Van edited and published SEPPA’s Southern Exposure magazine. His many interests included preaching, teaching, volunteer chaplain, Auburn sports, woodworking, DIY projects, scouting, gardening, and caring for numerous pets. Mr. Blankenship is survived by his children, Buren and Luanne Blankenship of Starkville, MS., Sally and Tim Smith of Talladega, Ted and Angela Blankenship of Naples, FL., and Alec and Lindsay Blankenship of Mobile, AL.; his grandchildren, Kris and Matt Williams, Will and Laura Smith, Luke Smith, Sarah Caroline, Victoria and Ben Blankenship, Abigail and Rian Silvestri, and Alexander and June Blankenship; his great-grandchildren, Sarah Kaitlyn and Corbin Williams, Nora Smith, and Alexander Blankenship III. Preceding him in death were his wife, his parents, his infant daughter, Julie, and his sister, Rebecca “Becky” Ann Blankenship. Pallbearer’s will be Will Smith, Matt Williams, Bert Gardner, Wright Gardner, Luke Smith, Alexander Blankenship, and Rian Silvestri. In lieu of flowers please make memorial donations to First Presbyterian Church, 130 North St. East, Talladega, AL. 35160, Alzheimer’s Disease Research, or the charity of your choice. The family is thankful for the care of the staff of Mountain View Lake Retirement Village in Sylacauga. Online condolences may be offered at www.usreyfuneralhome.com. Usrey Funeral Home of Talladega will direct the service.