James "Paul" Bleigh died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Hannibal, MO on February 23, 2018 at 5:08 am.
Funeral services will be at 10:00 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at the First Christian Church in Hannibal with Rev. Steve Barker officiating. Burial will be in the Grand View Burial Park.
Visitation will be 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Monday, February 26, 2018, at Smith Funeral Home & Chapel, in Hannibal.
J. Paul Bleigh was born at his parents' farm on June 18, 1925, in Philadelphia, MO to David Marion and Anna Lee (Terrill) Bleigh. Paul had seven siblings; Marion Lee, Thomas Woodrow, Robert Wayne, Kenneth Winston, Shirley Virginia (Wagner), Bessie Jean and Rosa Mary (Wright). As of Paul's death, only Shirley and Rosa Mary remain alive.
On January 11, 1948, Paul married Laura Mae (Latimer) who preceded Paul in death on January 18, 2013. Survivors of Paul's family include two sons, Robert Terrill (Carol) Bleigh of Palmyra, MO and James Michael (Sue Ann) Bleigh of Sunrise Beach, MO; two daughters, Diane Elaine (Mark) Flick of Southport, NC and Janet Lynn (Joe) Dunn of Hannibal, MO; eleven grandchildren, Casey (Mike) Jennings, Kristie (John) Franklin, Adam Dunn, Nathan (Sarah) Bleigh, Michael (Morgan) Bleigh, Elizabeth Bleigh, Dustin (Jennifer) Gray, Travis (Theresa) Gray, Mackenzie (Xavier) Taboada, Andy Flick, David Flick; nine great-grandchildren, Joel Dustin Gray, Lucas Paul Jennings, Reagan Olivia Jennings, Nolan Kyle Jennings, Dalton Eugene Gray, Jacob Thomas Gray, Whitney Mae Franklin, Adam Dunn, Jr. and Peyton Dunn.
Paul's family moved to the bottoms north of Hannibal in 1934-35 to start farming 465 acres; but the family lost their father "Marion" to pneumonia in 1937. Paul graduated from Hannibal High School in 1943 and immediately joined his two brothers, Woodrow and Kenny, who took over the farming operation for the family. Although all three brothers were equal partners, they had separate duties in the partnership with Paul running the farm which now operates 3,500 acres. It was when the three brothers / partners were farming that Bleigh Construction Company began simply enough to erect Quonset farm buildings for area farmers. From this modest beginning, Bleigh Construction Company has grown since 1950 to be a major general contractor for buildings, bridges, roads and also supplies concrete to the surrounding area through Bleigh Ready Mix.
Paul was a loving husband to his wife of 65 years, and he also dearly loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Paul embodied the American spirit and dream, as he started with humble beginnings and yet achieved great success. Everyone who was blessed to know Paul knew of his devotion to work and family. A kind and quiet man with a great sense of humor, Paul had many friends through work and community. He was a long-standing member of First Christian Church in Hannibal where he also served as a Deacon. Paul was a past President and board member of South River Drainage District, member of the Missouri Soybean Association and a member of the National Corn Growers Association.
Pallbearers will be Nathan Bleigh, Michael Bleigh, Travis Gray, Dustin Gray, Andy Flick and David Flick, Mike Jennings and John Franklin.
Honorary pallbearers will be Tom Bleigh and David Bleigh.
Memorials may be made to the First Christian Church of Hannibal or to the donor's charity of choice, in care of the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.