Hilary Blessinger: A Passion to Serve

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Hilary Blessinger celebrated his retirement after a 61-year career as an accountant and tax services provider on Wednesday at the Jasper Train Depot.

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

JASPER — After 61 years of crunching numbers, longtime Jasper accountant Hilary Blessinger, 87, is finally hanging it up.

Surrounded by family, former clients and the people he worked closest with for the past six decades, Blessinger celebrated his retirement with a party at the Jasper Train Depot Wednesday afternoon. Blessinger sat in a chair at the rear of the depot throughout the party, and a long line of guests — many of whom regard him as one of their smartest, most loyal friends and their lifelong accountant — eager to chat him up snaked around the inside of the building.

When they got to him, they hugged or shook hands, and Blessinger directed them to a sheet of paper that had his contact info and an all-caps “THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING” printed on it.

Even though he’s finally retiring, he isn’t completely abandoning the work he loves. He still wants to help those who want his assistance — now free of charge.

What will he do for them?

“Anything they would let me,” Blessinger said as the party winded down. “Anything I can do to help them and serve them.”

Those who know him best know him as a workaholic and dedicated family man who loves to read, antique hunt and help others. He is a lifelong Jasper man who grew up seeing the hardworking nature of those in the area. His daughter, Anita Lemond, said he still says every day that he’s “only here to see what he can do for others.” It’s his motto, and he’s still mentally sharp.

Blessinger had a job at a tomato canning factory and did the books at a car dealership prior to his accounting career. He also served active duty in the Army in Germany from 1953 to 1955. He opened his own business on Mill Street near The Herald after he returned from his service, and later moved his operation to Newton Street across from German American Bank and sold it about a decade ago to Krueger & Associates, where he worked through his retirement

Blessinger, center, talked with Bernita Heim, left, Juanita Boehm and Becky Beckman, all of Jasper, during his retirement party Wednesday at the Jasper Train Depot. Boehm and Heim both worked with Blessinger for over 20 years.

His first client, Charles Kruger, first went to Blessinger for his taxes when Blessinger was still working at the car dealership in 1948.

“You can’t beat him,” Kruger said.

Another longtime client, Hoyt Wiseman, started going to him in 1962 when he was about 18 years old and said he’s never had another accountant work on his income taxes.

“He always impressed me as being a real smart guy,” Wiseman said. “And he still is.”

Blessinger’s advice to young people is to get an education in something they enjoy. Blake Krueger, owner of Krueger & Associates, said he’s never seen someone love their job as much as Blessinger, even in the thick of tax season.

“I’d love to be in his house when he wakes up, because I truly believe he literally wakes up and jumps out of bed,” Krueger said. “Even at age 87 yet, knowing he gets to go serve people. That’s what he calls it — serving people — and he just absolutely loves it.”

Two of his closest and longest friends, Arch and Ruth Margarida, began going to him in the 1970s. They ran Margarida’s Antiques, and bonded over their love of antique hunting. They became close, and Arch remembered how the three would go on road trips in search of antique treasures.

“You will never, never find a more loyal, true or faithful friend than Hilary Blessinger,” Ruth said. “And I mean that. He is awesome.”




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