Who Was Col. Wilbur C. Blount?

Recently the stretch of I-670 that I drive on every workday was designated the Col. Wilbur C. Blount Memorial Highway. These kinds of things happen everyday, without anyone paying much attention. I’ve wondered who Col. Blount was, though, and the answer to that question turns out to be interesting.

Col. Blount was a colonel in the Ohio Air National Guard. He graduated from East High School in Columbus, then received his bachelor’s of science degree in bacteriology from The Ohio State University in 1951. At Ohio State, he enrolled in ROTC and was later commissioned as an officer in the Air Force. He received his medical degree from Ohio State in 1959 and served for years in the Air Force as a flight surgeon. He was promoted to Colonel in the Ohio Air National Guard in 1976. Col. Blount was the second state air surgeon of the Ohio Air National Guard and was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2004.

Dr. Wilbur C. Blount

Dr. Wilbur C. Blount

Although he achieved much as Col. Blount, he was, perhaps, more important to people as Dr. Blount, an ophthalmologist, educator, and active alumni of East High School. Dr. Blount specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the retina and practiced in the Columbus area for nearly 30 years. He worked at The Ohio State University Hospitals and at Grant Medical Center, and was a clinical instructor, and later clinical associate professor, at The Ohio State University Hospitals. At East High School, he helped to establish the school’s ROTC program, where he taught classes and sponsored and mentored students. His obituary, available here, quotes one of the students who received Dr. Blount’s help. By all accounts, Dr. Blount was one of those all-too-rare people who was a positive force for good in their community.

Col. Wilbur C. Blount died in May 2006, and the Ohio General Assembly named the stretch of I-670 after Col. Blount in April 2009. I think they made a very good choice.

7 thoughts on “Who Was Col. Wilbur C. Blount?

  1. Hi, I am Dr. Blount’s son. A friend of mine sent my a link to your post when he ran across it. I would like to thank you for your thoughtful comments and the considerable research that you did. From all of his children, we thank you.


    Angela, Wilbur, Michael, Elizabeth & Jaqueline


    • Thank you for the kind comments. I enjoyed learning about your father, who sounds like he was a tremendous person. He deserves every bit of recognition he has received. You should be proud!


    • Meet your dad in the seventies.Good guy will never forget him.The picture of him on the web is
      how he looked my dad was at Rickenbacker.


    • Hello, my name is Tammy Englar. I am sorry for your loss. I recently won your father’s microscope and wanted to know the man behind the fine piece of equipment. From what I read, your father accomplished so much in his life. I will truly cherish this item and display in my home for the rest of my life. Thank you for allowing someone to have a piece of his history. I won several microscopes, the booklet and receipts were only with the one item though. Have a blessed day. Thank you again.


  2. I had the honor of getting to know Dr. Blount as a youngster. I shadowed him in his practice as I was deciding on a major in college. I became fascinated with the microscope in the short time I spent with him there, and subsequently majored, and received my degree in microbiology at his alma mater, The Ohio State University. Every time I see those signs with his name on I-670 I am reminded of how many people he touched. It also reminds me that ‘my’ life is not all about ‘me.’ He laid a blueprint for how to humbly leave an eternal legacy by paying it forward. Dr. Blount’s spirit lives on in me, as i know it does in countless others. It is a wonderful spirit indeed. Thanks for honoring him in this way.

    Eric B.


  3. My Dad was at Rickenbacker in the 70s had the opportunity to meet Dr Blount. Dad bought him to our house shook hands he was a good man. You kids are fortunate to have such a great father.I will never forget that guy.


  4. I am a retired plastic surgeon i living on Quadra island in British Columbia , Canada…I served under Wilber Blount in the Ohio air national guard.. I remember him as an exceptional wonderful human being..my thoughts go often to those privileged times I spent and learnt from dr Blount , sincerely Rudi Unterthiner , 250 3852129


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