By Joseph Knoop
Nancy Blondin, former director of the Carmel Clay Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of the Fourth of July celebration CarmelFest, died at the age of 73.
Blondin became the Chamber of Commerce director in 1986, working on numerous other boards throughout the years, including the Carmel Symphony and Carmel St. Vincent Hospital.
“It’s sad for all of us, but Nancy’s impact was tremendous,” said Mo Merhoff, the current president of the Carmel-Fishers Chamber of Commerce OneZone. “She believed if you see a strong business community, you saw a strong community. She was so quick-witted and very bright.”
Blondin joined Dorothy Hancock, mayor of Carmel between 1988 and 1991, to found the annual Fourth of July celebration, CarmelFest.
“They thought up the idea one night over drinks, so they really created it,” Merhoff said. “The idea was to create a community celebration.”
Former Chamber of Commerce Chairman Randy Sorrell remembers Blondin as an inviting presence during his transition to the area, as well as her leadership.
“The chamber was her baby,” Sorrell said. “I remember her introducing me to so many people. She helped provide a framework and tradition. You always had a friend in Nancy.”
Many current and former members of local government believe one of Blondin’s most resounding traits was knowing when to let other community leaders take charge on special projects.
“She had a sense of what it meant to be a servant in your community,” Merhoff said. “That means staying informed, making sure you participate, and the goals of your community. We read about drops in voting or involvement, but that’s something Nancy would never want.”
Blondin’s name is also honored through the Carmel Chamber’s Nancy Blondin scholarship, which awards $1,000 a year for four years to children of business owners that are members of the chamber. The award was established after her retirement in 2000.
A funeral service is scheduled for June 1 at 1p.m. in Leppert Mortuary, Smith-Carmel Chapel at 900 N. Rangeline Rd. Visitation will take place two hours prior to the service.
Blondin is survived by her husband of 48 years, Roger Blondin, as well as her three daughters, four grandchildren, and three sons-in-law.