James “Bud” Blair, III

Born in 1909 in Placerville to James Blair, II, and Erla Blair, James “Bud” Blair III was the grandson of Amanda Schooley and James Blair I. Ernest W. Blair was his uncle. Well known for his athleticism, Bud was active in the athletics programs of El Dorado High School. In 1928, he left Placerville to study business at Cal Berkeley, where he was recruited to the University’s celebrated men’s rowing team. At 6’2, Bud was the smallest man of the crew. In 1932, his team was selected to represent the United States in the Los Angeles Olympic games. In a surprise upset, their team brought home the gold medal in men’s rowing for the United States, making Bud the first Olympic gold medalist in El Dorado County. After serving in the South Pacific during WWII, Bud returned to El Dorado County and married Gayle Lockhart of Placerville. For nearly 30 years he worked as the manager of the Placerville Fruit Growers Exchange. One of his key accomplishments was helping to guide the Fruit growers exchange through the difficult transition from pears to apples after the devastating pear blight obliterated crops countywide. Bud was a lifelong volunteer for causes supporting the public good, including the El Dorado County Historical Society (where he served as treasurer) as well as a docent of the El Dorado County Historical Museum.