For those who knew him best, Bruce Blanchard was not only a fun-loving man who enjoyed the arts and crafts, nature and the tending of his flower garden, but one whose life has been intrinsically linked to the local area.
Born in Westfield in 1956, Blanchard attended Mayville High School before receiving professional training as a hairdresser and health care aide.
After working in Florida and Washington for a period of time, he returned to his roots in Chautauqua County during the early 1980s, where he worked at the former Westfield Health Care Center as an aide and at Westfield schools as a custodian.
He was even a self-employed hairdresser, and also worked for many years at Wade's Service Center in Westfield.
On May 19, Blanchard - only 57 - died after an extended battle with cancer.
Before his passing, he volunteered his body to the University at Buffalo for scientific research.
To honor this gesture and Blanchard's life overall, a benefit and celebration of life will be held on Saturday, from noon-6 p.m., at the Westfield Moose Lodge, 19 Clinton St., in Westfield.
Highlights will include music by DJ Liz, a Chinese and silent auction, door prizes and food.
Tina Whitney, Blanchard's younger sister, said donations will go a long way to relieving hospital bills accrued during Blanchard's illness.
"Because this is a celebration of life, this is a way people can get some closure," Whitney said. "Come and celebrate Bruce's life."
Donations will be accepted at the door.