Cherokee – Trooper David Shawn Blanton, Jr., G540, age 24, a two year veteran with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol died a hero on Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in the line of duty.
He was a native of Swain County and was very proud of his Cherokee heritage. Shawn was the first member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to become a North Carolina State Highway patrolman. He was a 2002 graduate of Smoky Mountain High School, where he played varsity football, baseball, wrestling and track. He loved all sports, especially fishing and hunting with his family. He coached the girl's J.V. softball team at Smoky Mountian High School and played for two softball recreation leagues, The Explosion, a law enforcement and rescue team in Waynesville, and Beaudry's, a team in Cherokee.
He is survived by his wife, Michaela Layman Blanton; a two-week old son, Brendan Tye Blanton; his father and stepmother, David S. and Jennifer Blanton, of Sylva; his mother, Jeanell Youngbird, of Cherokee; paternal grandmother, Nikki Nations and her husband, Kenny, of Whittier; maternal grandmother, Mary Youngbird, of Cherokee; three brothers, Jerry Russell Blankenship, of Whittier, Jim Kye Blankenship, of Cherokee and Jesse James Blanton, of Sylva; a sister, Natalie Erin Blanton, of Sylva; mother-inlaw, Cindi Layman and her fiance, Dave Grant, of Canton; brother-in-law, Ryan Layman and his wife, Shea, and their son, Jaxon, of Bethel; five aunts, Sarita Harjo, of Okla., Faren Fleetwood, of Ohio, Debra Pruitt, of Whittier, Jamie Blanton, of Cherokee and Barbara Jones, of Whittier; stepgrandparents, George and Peggy Lambert, of Cherokee; and several cousins and other extended family members.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 21, 2008, at Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska Conference Center, with the Rev. David Christy officiating. Remarks will also be delivered by Colonel W. Fletcher Clay, Commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Burial will follow at Thomas Cemetery in Whittier. The family will receive friends from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Wells Funeral Home of Canton.
Pallbearers will be law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, his brothers and brother-in-law, and friend, Tony Belcher. Memorials may be made to the Tye Blanton Fund, in memory of Trooper Shawn Blanton, c/o The State Employees Credit Union, at any branch throughout western North Carolina. For those who desire, an online memorial register is available at Obituaries at www.wellsfuneralhome. com.