Doggone it: There goes my retirement

Sara Konu


Maintenance mechanic John Blanchard, 62, is a man with many passions.

An employee at the college for the past 27 years, Blanchard is Pierce’s resident electrician and repairman.

“I’m just happy doing what I’m doing,” Blanchard says. “I love work and I love bringing things that are broken back to life.”


Blanchard is a self-professed workaholic with an outstanding work ethic. But most of his time is split between his home and doing the work he loves.

Blanchard lives in Satsop, Wash., and wakes at 4 a.m. to drive 70 miles to Pierce. Then when his work day is done, he drives the 70 miles back home. Total, he spends about $20 per day on gas.

“In the mornings it’s about a 1 1/2 drive. At night, it’s anywhere from two to three hours, depending on traffic,” Blanchard says.

But Blanchard isn’t making the 70-mile journey alone; his faithful black lab, Pattycake, comes with him. While he’s at work, she stays in the car and every two hours Blanchard let’s her out for bathroom breaks.

Pattycake started coming to school with Blanchard after his neighbors complained about her barking while he was gone. His other black lab, Lucy, stays home after an incident in which he left her in the car alone and she chewed off all of the seatbelts.

Besides his daily commuting vehicle, which doubles as a dog house while he works, Blanchard owns a ’54 Chevy, an ’84 Chevy and a ’95 Chevy. Being mechanically inclined from a young age, he’s done extensive work on his vehicles.

When Blanchard attended high school, he originally had intended to become a mechanic and was taking vocational classes to become one. But an incident with his grease-stained hands and a pastry changed his career course.

“I was eating a doughnut one day and I saw my finger prints on the doughnut,” Blanchard says. “Of course, I threw that part away, but I decided then that I didn’t want to be a mechanic.”

After high school he entered the construction field and was building Texaco service stations from the ground up.

After years in construction he went to Bates Technical College and became a certified electrician before working at Clover Park Technical College and then Pierce College Puyallup.

Recently, Blanchard considered retirement, but no sooner had he thought about it than a bout of financially draining circumstances came his way. Among these were the needs to replace his roof and to have dental surgery.

“All of a sudden I had all these bills,” Blanchard says.

Ultimately he decided that it would be better for him financially to continue working.

His life isn’t all work though, in his spare time, Blanchard enjoys fishing, motorcycle rides on his Harley and doing yard work.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

Doggone it: There goes my retirement

by Sara Konu time to read: 2 min