Hanno E. Blais, 66, died Friday August 21, 2020, at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was born Hanno Ernst Wilhelm Günther Kleinert the third child of Elfriede and Günther Kleinert in Heiligenhafen, Germany. With his father in the military he moved frequently making friends and memories all over Germany. After graduating from the Gymnasium, he went to university and studied for the Bundeswehr, the German military, with a Master of Education. As an officer in the German Army he spent most of his career working with Americans in NATO. In the military he was well respected and loved by his soldiers as he always kept his word and put the wellbeing of his men before his career. He retired as a Major from the German Army after 30 years of service.
Hanno’s life was a life of service, compassion, and generosity. He was always there to lend a helping hand to a friend or neighbor in need. Hanno enjoyed repairing everything from cars to small electronic devices to houses. He always made time to lend a helping hand. I met him when he helped a young American enlisted soldier (a friend of mine) fix her car for free and he invited us to stay for pizza. How do you say goodbye to the one who stole your heart 27 years ago and never returned it?
Hanno was a soldier, a protector, a husband, and father. He joined the military in a Germany divided by a Wall and to protect the freedoms of the west and was deeply sorrowed by the oppression in the east that he witnessed firsthand. He celebrated when the Wall came down and watched his country struggle through reunification. He was proud of his service, of his role as protector for his country, and freedom.
Hanno met his American wife, Nicol Blais, at the end of his tour at AFCENT NATO base in the Netherlands. They were married on February 16, 1994 in Schinveld, the Netherlands. Due to the intricacies of international laws Hanno ended up taking Nicol’s last name in marriage. He said he was determined to have the same last name and that was the easiest way. During their time there their family grew as they gained custody of his daughter Sonja (from his first marriage) and their son Drakon, and daughter Tala were born. In March of 2002 one of Hanno’s dreams came true as he was able to immigrate to America and the family settled just outside of Santa Fe in Eldorado. Four years later another dream came true on June 9, 2006 when he became a U.S. citizen. It was one of Hanno’s proudest days.
Upon arriving in Santa Fe, the family quickly became volunteers at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas where visitors knew Hanno as the deputy from the mid-1800s with the German accent or Kuno the big green dragon of the Renaissance Fair. Hanno loved telling visitors about the history of the Ranch and New Mexico’s Spanish Colonial times. In 2009 he was named Volunteer of the Year. This year he was honored to receive the golden swallow on his bolo to show he had volunteered for over 2000 hours.
He is survived by his wife, Nicol Blais, his daughter Sonja Weber, her husband Stefan and their children Helena and Jan Weber, his son Drakon Blais and his partner Caylen Wolverton, and his daughter Tala Blais, CPL of Marines and her partner Hunter Rook, SSgt of Marines, his sisters Gisela Fischer and Ursula Kleinert.
Due to COVID-19 there will be no memorial service at this time, but one will be held after the current situation has passed. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to Disabled American Veterans or the Wounded Warrior Project.
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