The Blalock Family

As told by Bob Blalock and Dannie Sherrill

Building bridges—across cities and throughout communities—has made the Blalock name well-known in the world of local philanthropy and history.Manatee County has grown in its capacity to help its residents and make their lives better, ever since attorney Robert “Bob” Blalock became a public fixture in Bradenton. He is a principal behind the full-service business law firm, Blalock Walters—a company that has thrived for more than 90 years. But his family’s impact on Manatee started long before he arrived. Bob Blalock’s maternal grandparents, E.P. and Gertrude Green, first came to Bradenton in 1906 from Marietta, Georgia.

“They’d visit Cortez fishing village and decided to settle in downtown Bradenton (‘the center of the universe’),” Bob Blalock says. “My grandmother had double pneumonia and doctors said that, if she came to a warmer climate, she would have more time to live. So, to Florida they came.”  E.P. Green started buying real estate—vacant land from 59th Street to the waterfront. He and his law partner, A.F. Wyman, helped develop Bradenton Country Club.“The governor appointed E.P. to the Road Board. He helped develop Tamiami Trail,” Bob Blalock says. “And the Green Bridge, from Bradenton to Palmetto, was named after him.”Bob Blalock’s paternal grandfather, A.O. Blalock, was a Georgia business phenom. With his wife, Danny, he had three children: Dan, Winter and Madelina (and Catherine from another marriage).“He was headed to Fort Myers, but a storm came in and he stopped at the Manatee River Hotel and just stayed,” Bob Blalock says. “He came to Bradenton with a shotgun, a dog and a Model A Ford.”

A.O. Blalock’s son, Dan Blalock Sr. (Bob Blalock’s father), joined Wyman, Green & Blalock Real Estate and Insurance in 1927 (the oldest company of its kind in Manatee County, originally established by E.P. Green and A.F. Wyman in 1908). The firm became a flourishing father-and-son operation, passed down through the Blalock generations—with the late Dan S. Blalock Jr. and William M. Blalock both eventually joining. Wyman, Green & Blalock Real Estate is known for its professional offices, industrial and medical parks, and shopping centers throughout Southwest Florida: The Fairway Center, the General Telephone Building, the Tanglewood Professional Complex, Beachway Plaza and Manasota Industrial Park, among others. The company has also reached further along Florida’s West Coast, handling agricultural, timber and development land tracts. Dan Blalock Jr.’s son, Bill Blalock, now runs the firm.

While Bob Blalock’s father and brothers were changing the Manatee County landscape through real estate development, he was actively involved in numerous other aspects of community building. Bob Blalock, his grandfather and his father all served as presidents of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “Service to the community was instilled in me by my father,” Bob Blalock says.

Bob Blalock entered the now-named Blalock Walters law firm in 1963, soon taking on the role of managing partner. He and his colleagues helped establish the Manatee Community Foundation—a public charity that enhances the lives of local citizens through philanthropy, education and service (as does the personal Marlene and Bob Blalock Fund, named for himself and his wife).

Bob Blalock has devoted his time and career to numerous other nonprofit initiatives in Manatee County. He has served as chairman or president of such organizations as the Sarasota Orchestra, The Ringling Museum, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, the United Way Suncoast Manatee and the New College Foundation. He was named a “Manatee Distinguished Citizen” in 2017; given the “Lifetime Spirit” award at the 2012 Manatee Community Foundation Spirit of Manatee Awards; deemed a 2017 “Good Scout” by the Southwest Florida Council Boy Scouts of America; and recognized as a “Legal Legend” by Legal Aid of Manasota. Bob Blalock’s professional and personal service ultimately evolved into overseeing the Bishop Foundation—a charitable organization with a vibrant backstory. The Bishop family is beloved for having founded the Bishop Animal Shelter, the Manatee Performing Arts Center and the Bishop Museum. Much like the Blalocks, the Bishops have put their charitable stamp on Manatee County—and the two families have come together as mutual champions of local causes.

“Ned and Patty Bishop were active in the civic and cultural life of the Bradenton area. They made generous and impactful gifts, anonymously when possible, to many of the organizations and institutions in the area today,” Bob Blalock says. “The Bishops met Mary Parker (a graduate nurse) in New York in 1934 and invited her to be their nurse/companion—a role she had until the passing of Ned in 1962 and Patty in 1972.”

The Bishops established the Edward E. and Lillian H. Bishop Foundation in 1953, and Parker established the Mary E. Parker Foundation with her own assets in 1986. Parker passed away last year at age 108, leaving behind an incredible track record of giving, and Bob Blalock serves as the administrative trustee of her estate and trust (along with four other trustees).

“The trust assets all go to Manatee County nonprofit organizations (intended to last in perpetuity),” Bob Blalock says. Bob Blalock, in multiple ways, continues to give to the community. And Manatee County gives back to his family—with its charm, its bank of memories, and its historic places that bear the Green and Blalock names.

“I can’t think of a better place to grow up, and for my husband and I to raise our family, than Bradenton. Although Manatee County has grown considerably over the last few decades, it still has a small-town feel to me,” says Dannie Sherrill, Bob Blalock’s daughter. “I loved my childhood here, and a large part of that was the beauty of this community that allowed me to grow up enjoying the beaches, the waterways and the neighborhoods (where I played until it was time for dinner). People who live in Manatee County truly embrace this community and support it.” —A. Weingarten