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Winston R. Blenckstone, former baseball team owner, dies

Winston R. Blenckstone, former baseball team owner, dies
Winston R. Blenckstone had owned the Hagerstown Suns baseball team. (HANDOUT / HANDOUT)

Winston R. Blenckstone, former owner of the Hagerstown Suns baseball team who earlier had been owner and president of a medical and welding gas distributing company, died of a heart attack Wednesday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 72.

Winston Robert Blenckstone was the son of Frederick Emmett Blenckstone, a businessman, and Emily Churchill Blenckstone, who worked with her husband. He was born in Drexel Hill, Pa, where he spent his early years.

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He moved with his family to Baltimore in 1951 when his father established Baltimore Oxygen Supply Co., a welding and medical gas distributing company. They settled in Ruxton.

A talented athlete who played varsity lacrosse, football and basketball, Mr. Blenckstone graduated from St. Paul's School in 1962. He attended the University of Richmond, where he pitched for the university team; he also pitched for Orioles batting practice during the summer.

He earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1966 and took over the family business after his father's death that year.

He sold the company to BaltimoreAirgas in 1986 and purchased the Florence Blue Jays, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in Florence, S.C.

Family members said the first thing Mr. Blenckstone did was move the struggling team, renamed the Myrtle Beach Hurricanes, to the campus of Coastal Carolina College in Conway, S.C., near Myrtle Beach.

The team won the South Atlantic League Championship that year and won the league championship again in 1992.

At the conclusion of the 1992 season, he moved the team again, this time to Hagerstown, and renamed it the Suns.

He sold the team in 2001 and retired. He then moved to Homeland.

Mr. Blenckstone had been an active member of Rotary clubs in Myrtle Beach and Hagerstown, and in 1998 had been named Small Business Person of the Year by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

He was inducted into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame in 2002, and from 2003 to 2010 was a volunteer coach for the St. Paul's School.

He enjoyed attending Orioles games, collecting baseball cards and playing golf.

Mr. Blenckstone was an active communicant and usher at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Barbara Fegley, a retired AT&T telecommunications specialist; a son, David Blenckstone of Hagerstown; a daughter, Jenifer Boyce of Lutherville; and five grandchildren.

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His first marriage ended in divorce.

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