Family of beloved Oak Island treasure hunter touched by tributes after his death
A beloved treasure hunter known for his role on Nova Scotia's infamous Oak Island is being remembered for his knowledge, and love for the hunt.
Dan Blankenship died on Sunday at the age of 95. His son has received a steady stream of phone calls, emails, and messages on social media, and says he is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and condolences.
“Quiet man,” said Dan’s son, Dave Blankenship. “He used to be a contractor in Florida, and he come up here and, this is nuts! It’s gone on like wildfire.”
Blankenship was a veteran of the U.S. army and owned a contracting company in Florida before stumbling across an article in Reader's Digest about the lost treasure of Oak Island.
After reading the article, Blankenship moved to Nova Scotia in the 1960s and spent much of his life -- and a small fortune -- trying to find the fabled treasure.
“We have found certain clues over the period of time in certain areas that have kept us involved all these many years,” Dan Blankenship told CTV Atlantic during an interview in October 2014.
“To the best of my knowledge, no one has stayed on the island and been involved in more or less the daily thing longer than I have.”
Blankenship was already almost 90 years old when the hugely popular reality show "The Curse of Oak Island" began. The show documents two brothers' attempts to unearth the treasure and Blankenship featured prominently in the TV show. It made his name known all over the world, and he received plenty of letters and tips from others interested in his work.
“He had one folder that was probably about four or five inches thick of people’s ideas of how to do it,” said Dave Blankenship. “But none of them ever panned out.”
Family members of Blankenship say they will remember him as a strong-willed man.
“It was his way or it was no way. There was the right way, the wrong way, and dad’s way, and it was usually the hardest way,” said Dave Blankenship.
A funeral service will be held Monday afternoon in Mahone Bay, N.S. Among the songs to be played at the service is Frank Sinatra’s version of “My Way.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko