The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


January 11, 2014

Obituaries — Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014

Richard W. Bland

Richard Warren Bland, age 67, succumbed to brain cancer on January 5, 2014, at Bowers Hospice House in Beckley.

Richard was born in St. Albans, Kanawha County, W.Va., to the late James P. and Betty H. Bland and was raised in Beckley.

After obtaining his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1968 from West Virginia University, Rick took employment in Salt Lake City, Utah, returning to West Virginia in 1970 to accept the position of Design Engineer with Lively Manufacturing & Equipment Co. He became the Contracting Engineer and remained at Lively Manufacturing until 1981 when he ventured out on his own as Richard W. Bland, Inc., an engineering and business consulting company specializing in coal preparation design, economics and valuation. Rick’s clients were country-wide and he was a Registered Professional Engineer in 11 states ranging from WV, KY and PA westward to CA. Rick was involved in many diversified and exciting business ventures, with the world of coal being his forte. He became an Associate with Stagg Resource Consultants, Inc., in Cross Lanes, WV; was Bankruptcy Manager of Slab Fork Coal Company, Debtor-in-Possession for 6 years; Partner in Bland-Fox Development Partners for 10 years; owned over 500 acres of coal property in Raleigh County; and was sole owner of Vitrinite, Inc., of which 50% was sold to Rick’s lifelong friend and business partner, C. Bruce McDaniel. As 50/50 partners, Rick and Bruce set up Nano Drying Technologies, LLC, which holds and owns various pending patents pertaining to the drying of fine mineral particles and other mineral/coal industry applications.

Rick lived a “big life” and felt that if you weren’t doing at least 3 to 5 things at once then you were wasting time. Rick had a broad range of hobbies and interests, a few of which were cars, anything technological, skiing, cars, traveling, reading, cars, sports and, not to be left out, golf and real estate; however, the Boy Scouts of America was one of his passions. In December of 1959, following in his father’s footsteps, Rick obtained the rank of Eagle Scout and continued the family tradition by participating as a scoutmaster and encouraging his two sons to also obtain their Eagle Scout rankings.

Rick is survived by his wife of 20 years, Melinda Gilmer Bland, his two sons, Richard II and Christopher, his sister, Joyce Skakandy (Stephen Skakandy), his brother’s son Alex (Elisa Conlon), two grandchildren, Duke and Adelynn, special nieces Sydney and Coryn Gilmer and Kendall and Avery Bland, as well as various beloved cousins and in-laws.

A private burial is planned and the family will receive guests on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Beckley Presbyterian Church on Kanawha St. which is to be followed by a memorial service. Rick’s loved ones wish to extend their sincere gratitude to the kind and compassionate caretakers at Bowers Hospice House. Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are asked to consider donations to either the Bowers Hospice House, Beckley Presbyterian Church or to a local Boy Scout Troop.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at

Arrangements by Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center, Beckley.

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