S. Prestley Blake, a Founder of Friendly’s, Dies at 106
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S. Prestley Blake, a Founder of Friendly’s, Dies at 106

Stewart Presley Blake was born on November 26, 1914 in Jersey City, NJ to Herbert Presley Blake and Ethel (Stewart) Blake. He grew up in Springfield, where his father worked for the watchmaker Standard Electric Time Company; His mother was an automobile aficionado who encouraged his sons’ fascination with cars. Using the earnings from a newspaper route, he bought a Model T Ford at the age of 16. (Another brother, Hallis, died at the age of 2)

Mr. Blake studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., For a year before returning to Springfield to open an ice cream store with his brother Curtis.

The Blake brothers closed shop during World War II to join the war effort. Mr. Blake now went to work for Westinghouse Electric Corporation, tracking elusive electronic devices and giving it to wartime manufacturers. (Curtis Blake served in the Army Air Force in Britain.)

After selling friendlies in the 1970s, Mr. Blake traveled the world by sailboat and Concorde Jet and cultivated his collection of classic cars, including about two dozen Rolls-Royces. One of them, he wrote, appeared in Lisa Minnelli’s film “Tell Me You Love You, Juni Moon” (1970), in which she made a cameo appearance as a cameo.

Mr. Blake modernized and praised his 100th birthday in 2014 Replica of monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Plantation, in Somerus, Conn. The mansion was sold, building around $ 8 million. Auction In 2016 for about $ 2.1 million.

Their first two marriages, with Della Deming and Setsu Matsukta, ended in divorce.

Mr. Blake died in a hospital in Stuart, where he lived. In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife Helen Blake; A sister, Betsy Melvin; One daughter, Nancy Yanakis; Several stepchildren; 16 grandchildren and step grandchildren; And 12 great-grandchildren.

“I started small, worked hard, and succeeded beyond my best dreams,” Mr. Blake said at the end of his memoir. “I got out of the ice cream business and was sitting pretty, until I got off the couch and came back to the field. That fight is over. I am 96 years old and I am officially retired. It is possible.”



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