William Blakefield graduated from Berlin High School in 1935 and Ripon College in 1939, later serving in the Army from 1939 to 1978. He was the first commanding general of Army Readiness Region III and deputy commanding general, 1st U.S. Army, Fort George C. Mead, Md. Later he served at the Pentagon, on a White House Select Presidential Committee. His service included acting as an advisor to the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, as commander of a group in Korea and principal advisor to the Turkish Army in Turkey. He assumed command of the U. S. Army Intelligence Command (USIANTC) in 1967.
His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with V device and Oak Leaf Cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, a Purple Heart and Croix de Guerre (with star, French) as well as numerous service medals and foreign awards and decorations.
After retiring from the Army, Gen. Blakefield was president of Kemper Military School and College in Boonsville, MO. He was also active in service and charitable organizations. He and his wife established a scholarship fund at Ripon College.
He discharged with energy and distinction the duties of his profession. His son remarked that perhaps holding down five jobs in order to attend college helped his dad recognize the rewards of hard work and dedication to a purpose.