The Joseph C. Blair Society was established in 2014 by the Parks Foundation to honor individuals who have included the Urbana Parks Foundation in their estate plans through a bequest or other planned gift. Bequests may be of any size and may come in many forms. The Foundation encourages donors to consult their estate or tax advisors when establishing a bequest. Foundation or Park District representatives will be glad to discuss potential gift uses with prospective donors.
About Joseph C. Blair
Commissioner and President of the Board of Directors
Joseph C. Blair was a towering figure in the creation of public parks throughout Illinois. He was the driving force in formation of the Urbana Park District, for which he served as Commissioner and President of the Board of Directors from its inception in 1907 to 1949. He also persuaded the Illinois General Assembly to establish the first State Park, Fort Massac, in 1908, and in 1928 was a founding member of the Illinois Association of Park Districts.
A professor of Horticulture at the University of Illinois, he was instrumental in designing Crystal Lake Park and Carle Park. He is also credited with planting more than 6,000 trees throughout Urbana.
In recognition of his enormous influence on the development of the park system in Urbana and, indeed, throughout Illinois, and his role in implementing his vision in two Urbana parks, Blair Park on Race Street in named for him.