Blair Christopher Polk, 44
June 15, 1969 – May 26, 2014
1969 was a momentous year in history. In addition to the Moon landing and Woodstock, another major event took place, albeit a little less heralded. The event was the birth of Blair Christopher to his loving father Joe Polk who was then residing at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. It was at the AFB hospital that Blair was born.
After getting his MBA, Joe Polk obtained a position with the Xerox Corporation in Dallas, Texas, where he and Blair set up a new home. After spending two years in Dallas, the small family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, to open a new branch and was Joe was promoted to Branch Control Manager only later to start his own investment company when Blair was still a small boy.
At approximately 8-9 years old Blair studied piano, as he had such a deep appreciation for music of all genres. But according to his Dad, Blair was a little lazy, didn’t want to practice and, although extremely talented, ultimately gave up playing forever.
Blair and his dad Joe lived together for 34 years, since he was a 10-year-old boy. Blair developed schizophrenic symptoms early in life.
“They grew progressively worse as he grew older,” Joe said. “Although he received good professional care, the treatment and medications were not effective. Every waking moment he heard voices that told him he was an evil person who should cut himself and kill himself.”
Miraculously, Blair remained a kind and gentle soul who “was always concerned about my welfare and the welfare of others,” according to his father Joe. “It is impossible to imagine the mental pain Blair suffered throughout his life.”
Blair joined the Air Force in 1981 at age 19. He made it through basic training but later separated from the Air Force at the request of Mental Health Services.
After years of struggling, Blair with diagnosed Paranoid Schizophrenia. Joe began to do extensive research on the medical facilities available around the country and decided that Arcadia, California, might offer some better answers for his son’s condition — and perhaps even some hope.
After being in and out of mental health care facilities all his life, Blair spent last October in no fewer than seven different facilities trying a kind of “hit and miss” approach with medicines to treat a complex condition that so few understand and that so deeply wounded Blair’s every waking moment.
Blair was well-liked in the local music community and often attended local jazz shows in Pasadena and Los Angeles. His all-time favorite band was Motorhead, which his dad braved at a concert a couple of years ago, much to the detriment of his eardrums. Blair was also fond of the band KISS.
As Blair’s primary interest was music, he often visited First Cabin in Arcadia and listened to Pat O’Brien and the Priests of Love. Blair became good friends with many of the musicians who appeared locally and especially drummer, Jimmy Volpe. Blair was also very fond of the local jazz musicians, especially Leila Avila.
Blair’s father said, in closing, “Blair’s condition deteriorated further into paranoia and thought his medications were placebos because they were not helping him. He handled his illness better than I ever could. He will continue to inspire me and give me the strength to continue my life. Blair is my hero. I love you, Blair.”
Blair Christopher Polk was found dead in the early morning on Memorial Day after his father had filed a missing persons report with Arcadia Police 36 hours earlier. No foul play was indicated and the Coroner has yet to determine the cause of death. Blair was 44 years old.
Blair Polk is survived by his father, Joe, and an uncle, Don, in Santa Barbara. His father Joe Polk suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a mental health facility of your choice to help others who are so terribly afflicted by this disease for which there is enormous stigma, misunderstanding and no identified cure.
Blair will be missed by many but especially those closest to him, which included his extended family at Arcadia Weekly, where his dad Joe was circulation manager for many years. We extend our sincerest, heartfelt condolences to Joe Polk during this extremely challenging time.