Gentleman, devoted father
From the time Luis was little, people commented about how helpful and mannerly he was. His teachers wrote notes on his report cards about how happy they were to have him in their class. After he passed away, neighbors said he would hold doors for them, or help them bring in groceries; always friendly and a gentleman.
His interests ranged from astronomy, loving to view the sky, stars and space, to sports. He especially loved football and the Ravens. He and his mother shared this love and watched football together on television and occasionally went to games. Once, when they were working the same place, she won tickets to the Raven’s game and people kept teasing him about who she would take with her. He never doubted it would be him!
Luis worked in a warehouse for a time where he was quickly made team leader, even though he was a seasonal worker. Later he worked for a roofing company. By far, his most important job was as a father to his daughter, who is now five. She was the most important thing in his life and they adored each other. Family members keep the memory of him alive for her, and she often carries around a blanket and pillow doll that Luis’s mother gave her, with her father’s picture and name on it.
Both Luis and his mom had a habit of pacing while talking on the phone – she would say “Luis, sit down,” and when she did the same thing, he would laughingly take her by the shoulders and sit her down; they enjoyed this similarity. His mother misses his voice and coming home from the night shift and having morning conversations with her son. She is also grateful that their entire family was together for the 4th of July, shortly before he died. It is a wonderful memory to have.
Like many family members, Luis’s mother was never around drugs before and didn’t know the signs of addiction. She has talked to several drug awareness groups about the importance of developing educational posters for parents and family members about what signs to look for, in addition to education for those who use drugs. She is also starting school to become a peer recovery coach.
It is no surprise that Luis was an organ donor; it was a final act of his desire to help others. Three lives were saved though this act of compassion, a lasting legacy of his thoughtfulness.
Luis’ mother, Lori Blankenship, was interviewed for this profile.
May 13, 1994 – July 16, 2016
Lived with Addiction for six months.