Rheinhold Blake Jr., known as “Butch” to family and friends, was said to be a fun-loving block captain. He was also a 25-year employee of the Philadelphia Water Department and a Navy veteran. Blake died December 31 of a brain aneurysm. He was 61.
“Never one to stay silent longer than 30 seconds, he was an outgoing, warm, embraceable, fun-loving and intellectually astute man who had a thirst for life that seemed unquenchable,” said his brother, Joseph P. Blake. “He had a larger-than-life personality and a heart to match.”
Blake was born in Philadelphia to Rheinhold A. Blake Sr. and Lillie Mae Blake. He attended Edison High School before entering the Navy for a four-year hitch.
Blake went to work for the city after his discharge. He retired in 2010 for health reasons, “but didn’t stop his zest for life or inhibit his love for family and his many, many friends,” said his brother, a former writer and editor at the Daily News and Inquirer.
Blake was a longtime block captain for 15th Street between 67th and 68th avenues in West Oak Lane.
“Butch absolutely loved people and loved telling jokes and stories,” his brother said. “He was a natural-born comedian, whose timing and sharp mind were a wonder to watch.”
Joseph P. Blake said his brother could enliven any moment and create an air of festive fun that would literally last for hours.
“He was a confidant, a friend, a mentor, a guide, a supporter of anything positive, and often the voice of reason that brought clarity with such sayings as, ‘If you’re not stupid, then don’t do anything stupid,’” he said. “Although he is physically gone, Butch Blake will be alive in spirit, legend and the history of family and friends for many years to come.”
Blake leaves to mourn: wife, Debbie; five daughters, Rhonda, Rasheda, Tamika, Erica and Lisa; and his brother, Joseph P. Blake. Services were held January 7.
The Philadelphia Daily News contributed to this report.