Get to know the national officers!

President – Bonnie Blaford

I was born into a remarkable family who loved to camp and explore the parks of all 50 states. My parents and three siblings enjoyed the excitement of nature and the culture of all of America. Perhaps these adventures influenced by career choices more than my parents realized.

A graduate of Parkland College and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in Parks and Recreation. My first job was a recreation director at a NATO training base in Germany. I started my National Park Service career as a Student Conservation Association volunteer at the Grand Canyon; assigned to the Carl Sandburg NHS in North Carolina; Lincoln Home NHS in Illinois; permanent interpretive position at the Kennedy Center for the performing arts; worked President Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural ball at Kennedy Center; National Mall, worked at Lincoln, Jefferson Memorials and Washington Monument; worked Yorktown celebration; special event of the opening of the Vietnam War Memorial; interpretive ranger at President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Home and the only Vanderbilt Mansion in the Park Service; law enforcement ranger at Minute Man National Historic site in Concord, MA; Tuskegee NHS in Tuskegee, AL/home of Booker T. Washington; George Washington Carver Museum; first park ranger at the Jimmy Carter NHS/planned and developed this NHS/ prepared for a visit from President Arafat.

I retired in 2011 after 8 years with the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, West Branch, Iowa, a career that took me to many National Historic Sites. I live in Tipton, Iowa.

From: Barbara Virgiline (Gray) Blaford, Edna Pearl (Blaisdell) Gray, Benjamin Franklin Blaisdell, Isaac Newton Blasdel, Lt. Enoch Blasdel (6.233)

Bonnie Blaford
Beth Blasdel

Vice President

I grew up in Greensburg, Indiana with many weekends of my childhood on the family property in Bright, Indiana. I am the fourth of five kids (Jack, Tim, Jill and Becky) from Jackie (Bauer) and Bill Blasdel. We have three nieces, six nephews, six great nieces and seven great nephews.  I have been married to Greg DeWitt since 2006.

I graduated from Purdue University at Indianapolis with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.  I worked at Naval Weapons Support Center and Cummins Engine before returning to the family business, Blasdel Enterprises, where I am the plant manager.  Along with my husband Greg DeWitt, we owned and operated Home Energy Ratings Systems for 12 years.

I was the business representative for Indiana Region 9/Southeast Indiana workforce board and Indiana Workforce Board association for 10 years, serving as the chair for a term.  I was a member and past chair of the Joint Workforce Investment Board appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels and Gov. Mike Pence. I served as a commissioner for the Greensburg Housing Authority for 6 years.

The interest in the Blaisdell family was ingrained in me at an early age.  My grandparents, Ella and Harry Blasdel, hosted many Blasdel, Jackson and Harper reunions in the woods. As kids, we thought it was odd that there were usually the same people at these reunions. Eventually, we found out why; these families were descendants of Ralph Blaisdell.

This enthusiasm for our family heritage led us to follow my mother, Jackie Blasdel in hosting the 2000 national reunion in Greensburg and Dearborn County, Indiana.  It was a huge success!

In my spare time, my husband and I travel, particularly visiting national parks and art museums. We live in the woods on a beautiful 16-acre lake and enjoy bird watching. I am an avid photographer of landscapes and animals in the wild.

I look forward to being an officer of BFNA and meeting more cousins along the way while strengthening the organization even more through these family ties.

From: Harry Blasdel, Walter Earl Blasdel, Quincy Ervin Blasdel, Charles Bailes Blasdel, Rev. Franklin Townsend Blasdel, Lt. Enoch Blasdel (6.228) & From: Ella (Jackson) Blasdel, Nancy Jane (Harper) Jackson, William Anthony Harper, Joseph Morrill Harper, Sally (Blasdel) (Harper) Chase (6.234)

Secretary – Linda Corliss

Human Resource Director and Deputy County Manager for the County of York, Maine

I have an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from McIntosh College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies – with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Purdue University, and am currently working toward my Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I am involved in several civil organizations to include the Patrons of Husbandry, Rotary and the Berwick Historical Society.

I live in Berwick, Maine, with my partner Bobbi-Jo and my two dogs Oakley and Ellie. I enjoy spending my time hiking, kayaking and enjoying time with my family, enjoying the smiles of my daughter and three grandchildren. When I am not enjoying time with my family, I can be found walking through various cemeteries checking in on relatives and working on my endless quest to document my family heritage.

“As much as I enjoy working in the public sector, my true passion lies in my family genealogy research.”

I come to the BFNA via my connection to the Blaisdell line via my grandmother Luella Blaisdell.

From: Arthur Sidney Corliss, Leslie Herbert Corliss, Louella May (Blaisdell) Corliss, Richard Clough Blaisdell, Thomas Blaisdell, Peter Blaisdell (6.108)

Treasurer – Ev Curry

9TH Great Grandson of Ralph Blaisdell and Elizabeth Parker who arrived in the new world on August 14, 1635.  I was born on the 310th birthday (March 7, 1942) of Ralph and Elizabeth’s son Henry who arrived with them.  I descend through Lt. Jacob Blaisdell, his 5th Great Grandfather. 

I have been married to Barbara for fifty-six years. We have three adult children and six grandchildren. Barbara and Everett have lived in California, Hawaii, and Oregon, now in Hillsboro, Oregon for thirty-one years. 

I am an ordained minister with American Baptist Churches USA, Financial Planner, and have served on several non-profit organization boards. I earned a bachelors’ degree in history from California State University, Northridge; masters’ degree from American Baptist Seminary of the West; and doctorate from San Francisco Theological Seminary.  I was ordained in 1967 and served six American Baptist congregations as pastor as well as three others in interim capacity.  Trained in Planned Giving, I served Linfield College (now Linfield University) and American Baptist Seminary of the West as Director of Planned Giving and Director of Development respectively.  I twice served American Baptist judicatories.

Among my interests, I was licensed in July, 1956 as an Amateur Radio Operator (W6ABM). I retained this license until upgrading to Advanced Class in 1995 and Extra Class in 2000. I have been active in amateur radio for 64 years. I have been the Master of Ceremonies for the SEA-PAC/ARRL Northwestern Division Banquet for the past fifteen years. I coordinate the Education programs for OTVARC and am administrator for their Volunteer Examiner Team.  

I have been actively involved with genealogy for nearly fifty years. Originally intending to provide my children with their four main lines back to the immigrant, I continue to expand my family story and work at breaking down “brick walls.”  More recent adding DNA searches, my horizon significantly expanded.

From: Everett William Curry, Seth Reuben Curry, Martha Louisa (Nowlin) Curry, Jonathan Blasdel Nowlin, Elenor Cooper (Blasdel) Nowlin, Capt. Jonathan Blasdel (6.233)

Genealogist – Margaret Guss

A Georgia College and State University graduate and born into a pioneer Georgia family. I am the wife of the late Earl R. Guss, Jr., a Florida native who has an impressive ancestry. We have three adult children and two grandchildren. Our children grew up in Burlington, NC.—I am a member of the Amelia Island Chapter of the DAR, Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims,  Dame in Waiting for the Princess Amelia Colonial Dames of the 17th Century, serve on the Board of Directors for the Huxford Genealogical Society and serve on the Executive Committee for the Blaisdell Family National Association as Genealogist. A member of First Presbyterian Church, Fernandina Beach, FL and Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. 

My career has taken many twists and turns as a teacher and social worker for the mentally challenged,  mentally  ill and homeless population. AWARDS: Volunteer of the year State of Alabama in Mental Retardation 1989. Instrumental in the development and securing funds for a Sheltered Workshop for adults with mental retardation; Pres./Incorporator Clark Smeltzer Training Center Board, Incorporator of H.O.P.E. Board; and Incorporator of Etowah County 310 Board. 

 After retiring, I became fascinated with Earl’s rich family heritage. We spent much of our travel time researching Earl’s family history via courthouses, cemeteries, libraries, health departments and interviewing people who are able to share a family history.

w/o Earl Russell Guss, Jr, Earl Russell Guss, Sr., Gladie Grace (Richmond) Guss, Lucy Jane (Blasdel) Richmond, Rueben Sutton Blasdel, Isaac Newton Blasdel, Lt. Enoch Blasdel (6.233)

Vital Statistics Editor – David Nowlin

I am honored to serve BFNA as your Vital Statistics Editor.

            I arrived in this world in Salem, Oregon as the third son of Oscar JB and Dorothy (Longsdorff) Nowlin.  After my father returned from serving in World War II (Pacific Theater), my family moved to Holton, Kansas where my parents bought a greenhouse which my Dad operated for 55 years.  My mother taught music, both privately and in public schools; she instilled a love of music in all of her four children.

            I graduated from Holton (Kansas) High School, from the University of Kansas (BA), and from the University of Kansas School of Law (JD).  In late 1967 I married Sharon Coffman whom I met while attending KU.  After our wedding, we moved (without money, a job or contacts) to Denver, Colorado, where I began a 30-year career in mortgage banking, including the management of residential and commercial lending operations for various lending institutions.  In 1998 I joined a major title insurance company in Denver to manage the title and escrow functions of commercial real estate clients who were acquiring and developing real estate projects all over the country.  When management consolidated two commercial offices, my new responsibilities were in Phoenix, Arizona.  There are still heal marks all the way down I-25 from Denver toward Phoenix but we finally adjusted to our new surroundings and made many friendships which we cherish to this day. 

            My interest in genealogy began quite by accident over 35 years ago.  Having attended many of  my wife’s bi-annual family reunions in Lawrence, Kansas, Sharon and one of her cousins volunteered to plan the next reunion.  We were sent a mailing list of the attendees and our first question was:  who are these people and how are they related to us?  I discovered a six-week beginning genealogy class at the Denver Public Library.  I attended the class, became an active member of the Colorado Genealogy Society, and did a great deal of research by “old school” methods (letter writing, trips to the library, visits to cemeteries, courthouses, using paper as my data base) – all for the purpose of discovering the common ancestor of the Coffman family reunion attendees.  I prepared and presented a report of my findings at the next reunion.  As they say, the rest is history. 

I am currently a member of the Johnson County (Kansas) Genealogy Society where I serve on the Board as Secretary.  Prior to Covid-19, I volunteered in the Genealogy Department of our local library and also volunteered weekly at the Kansas City National Archives – in both venues helping people do family research.  In addition of genealogy, my hobbies include reading American history and hiking; I have climbed 15 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks.

From:  Oscar JB Nowlin, Cortez Dewey Nowlin, Jonathan Blasdel Nowlin, Elenor Cooper (Blasdel) Nowlin, Capt. Jonathan Blasdel (6.233)

Editor of the Blaisdell Papers – John Blasdel, Jr.

John E. Blasdel, Jr., of Bright, Indiana. I am the oldest son of John E. and Wilma (Fondong) Blasdel, and grandson of Walter and Lillian (Jackson) Blasdel.  I have two younger brothers, Jeff and Joel (Jody), and one younger sister, Joan (Blasdel) Erhart.

I am a widower, married to Anne (Renner) Blasdel for 39 years, and together we had  two daughters: Trisha (Blasdel) Spears and son-in-law, Brian Spears, and Sarah (Blasdel) Reed and son-in-law, Jason Reed, and 6 grandchildren, Joseph and Abigail Spears, Micah, Zaiah, Jonah and Ezrah Reed.

An elementary school teacher for South Dearborn Community School Corporation in Aurora, Indiana for 39 years, I  retired from teaching in June 2012.  

My hobbies include riding roller coasters (especially with his grandchildren), traveling, singing tenor with the “Voices of the Commonwealth,” and  historic preservation.  I am currently vice-president of the Hillforest Museum Foundation  Board of Directors and serve as a docent at the museum  and chairperson of the Hillforest Education Committee.  I am also a member of the Clifty Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

I have served as an associate editor of the Blaisdell Papers since December 2013, contributing articles and assisted with proofreading while Leo Blackwell was editor.  I welcome all articles of  interest to the Blaisdell family to be submitted at: or mailed directly to me at:  2159 Basket Lane, Apt. 306, Lawrenceburg, IN  47025.

JOHN EDGAR BLASDEL, JR. From: John Edgar Blasdel, Sr., Walter Earl Blasdel, Quincy Ervin Blasdel, Charles Bailes Blasdel, Rev. Franklin Townsend Blasdel, Lt. Enoch Blasdel (6.228) & From: Lillian (Jackson) Blasdel, Nancy Jane (Harper) Jackson, William Anthony Harper, Joseph Morrill Harper, Sally (Blasdel) (Harper) Chase (6.234)

Gary Gellert

Immediate Past President – Gary Gellert

I am the oldest son of Norman and Lois (Blasdel) Gellert.  I have two siblings; brother Terry and sister Connie Shipman.  I live on the family farm in Guilford, Indiana with my wife Laura (Robinett) Gellert.  Oldest son Blaine is married to Kathleen Hountz andalso lives on the family farm. They have two sons, Ostyn and Ryker.  Middle son Cory is married to Jessica Bankert and they live in Sheridan, Indiana. They have three sons, Logan, Levi, Landon  and daughter Sophia. Youngest son Trey is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, works for Four Star Vets in Chickasaw, Ohio and lives in Troy, Ohio.

I earned a B.S. degree from Hanover College and a M.Ed. degree from Bowling Green State University.  I was an educator for 42 years serving as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.   For sixteen years I served as the superintendent of schools in the North College Hill City School District near Cincinnati, Ohio retiring from that position July 31, 2016.

In retirement I am spending more time working on the family farm.  The 240-acre farm, known as Sawdon Ridge Farms, has been in the family since 1854.  Today the farm specializes in raising Angus cattle for breeding and freezer beef.

Gary GellertFrom:  Lois Gellert, Walter E. Blasdel, Quincy E. Blasdel, Charles B. Blasdel, Rev. Franklin T. Blasdel, Lt. Enoch Blasdel — (6.228) — and —  

Gary Gellert From: Lois Gellert, Lillian (Jackson) Blasdel, Nancy J. (Harper) Jackson, William A. Harper, Joseph M. Harper, Sarah B. (Blasdel) (Harper) Chase — (6.234)