Friends, family remember former Keene Mayor Blastos
By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent | August 13. 2013 8:00PM
Former Keene Mayor Micheal Blastos, receipient of Keene State College's Granite State Award, speaks to graduates during the commencement ceremony in this 2009 file photo
"Mike Blastos meant a lot to this community, and it's just one of the little ways of showing respect for all he did for us and the community's grief for losing a leader of his caliber," City Manager John MacLean said Tuesday.
Upon hearing the news, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement: "I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Keene Mayor Mike Blastos. I was lucky to have him as a friend. He was an incredibly dedicated public servant who cared deeply about Keene. My thoughts and prayers are with all of Mike's family and friends."
From environmental initiatives to the addition of roundabouts to city streets, Blastos played a significant role in the shaping of the city over his years of service, MacLean said.
Starting with a grocery store that was originally his first wife's family business, he was an owner and entrepreneur in Keene from the late 1950s on.
"That was the pizza place in Keene for many years," Santerre said. "It was not unusual for him to be owning and running three different businesses at one time from the 1960s to the late 1970s."
Whenever there was a natural disaster, Blastos's restaurant kitchen would make food for the emergency workers, MacLean said.
"Mike was just a great humanitarian. He reached out to people in a variety of ways," MacLean said.
MacLean said he remembers coming into the offices of City Hall and often hearing Blastos in his office on the phone singing happy birthday to a student's answering machine.
"He was our dad and he was larger than life," Santerre said. "If you stopped 10 people on the street, eight people would know who he was and of those eight, five would have a story about how he had helped them."
A private funeral service is planned to take place at his parish, Saint George Greek Orthodox Church in Keene, Sanperre said. A public service is planned for Friday morning at St. Bernard's Catholic Church on Main Street at 10 a.m.