“The 1920’s gave us the first transatlantic flight, the Charleston, bathtub gin, and ME!” In her own words, Evelyn Miller Lilly Blake describes the profound events occurring at the time of her birth, September 8, 1920. She was born in a small house on her grandfather’s farm in Monroe County, West Virginia, the first born of three children. She declared, “Birth order is everything, because you learn to lead others at an early age.” This may have been the motivation that led her to a lifetime of teaching. She was a teacher in every sense of the word, not only in her classroom but one-on-one to anyone who needed wise counsel from her knowledge and years of experience.
Life was an adventure to Evelyn. Her niece remembers being told, “If there was a sign-up sheet posted advertising an interesting project or event, I signed up for it.” Evelyn’s earthly adventure ended on 11/27/2023. Surely, she must be searching for sign-up sheets in her new place!
She was proceeded in death by her husband of 59 years, Oscar Jennings Blake; parents, Everett and Mollie Belle Miller Lilly; sister Martha Sue Lilly Mahr; and brother, James A Lilly, Sr. She is survived by nieces and nephews from California to West Virginia who were convinced she was magical.
Evelyn graduated from Concord University in Athens WV and obtained her graduate degree from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg VA. She began her teaching career at Fayetteville High School, Fayetteville WV in 1942 and retired from Salem High School, Salem VA in 1982 where she taught biology, art, and home economics. She described herself as an avid gardener, hiker, Barbie Doll collector, clothing designer and photographer. She loved to “dig and plant” with the Westchester Garden Club, Blue Ridge District, Roanoke VA, where she was a past-president and a life member. She continued her “digging and planting” with the Dirty Hands Garden Club at The Glebe Retirement Home, Daleville VA, where she had made her home since 2006. Sundays would find her up early, ready and waiting for the transport bus to take her to Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Troutville VA, where she was a member.
Honoring Evelyn’s request, her ashes will be brought to a final resting place near her husband’s ashes in a private service.
Those who wish to memorialize this amazing life known and loved as “Ev,” “Aunt Evelyn,” “Ms. Blake,” or Evelyn Blake, may do so with contributions in her name to: The Evelyn Lilly Blake Science Fund Concord University Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 1405, Athens, WV 24712-1405. Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Bedford, is assisting the family.