Pastors' Memoirs

Frank W. Blake, 1918 – 2006

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The Rev. Frank W. Blake of Parksley, husband of Maxine Lawhorn Blake, retired United Methodist minister, passed away Sept. 7, 2006.

He was born Oct. 26, 1918, in Milton, W.Va., son of Warren Wood and Alice Gwinn Blake. After graduating from Milton High School in 1936, he graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College, followed by graduate studies at Duke University, Emory University, and Boston University. He put himself through high school, college and graduate school working various jobs and even owning a french fries and ice cream shop! He was a self-made man of high morals who dreamed of becoming a CPA until receiving a divine calling to the ministry. He felt much too shy to be a speaker, but God provided the words that flowed flawlessly from his lips.

Prior to joining the Virginia Conference, Rev. Blake served several churches in his home state of West Virginia. He then served the Phenix Charge and the Burkeville Charge in Virginia. He served in Bolton, Conn., while continuing with his graduate studies at Boston University. Upon the completion of his studies, Frank returned to the Virginia Conference, where he served the Accomac Charge on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Health issues eventually forced an early retirement from the ministry. This was a very difficult and traumatic decision, since his illness kept him from using his voice. Refusing to ask for help, he was a firm believer that God gave him a good mind and two hands which he would use to support his beloved family. He became a home builder and real estate developer, and used these avenues to continue teaching God’s word, especially when he was elected to the board of directors for the Accomac-Northampton Electric Co-op, on which he served over 35 years. He was a board member of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and for six years was an officer on the Cooperative Finance Corp. board in Washington, D.C. Serving on the CFC Board, he was a part of the financial decision makers lending funds to Rural Electric Associations throughout the United States.

In retirement, he was asked to serve the Cokesbury United Methodist Church in Onancock, where he served for 13 years and was named Pastor Emeritus.

Rev. Blake always felt the worst part of the ministry was taking a salary for doing what he enjoyed most. His first major project in giving back to God, was to provide the seed money to build a new church on the Eastern Shore. His family is continuing his wishes by giving back contributions — equaling his salaries — to the churches on which he served.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, his son Frank W. Blake II and his wife Judi, daughter Betsye B. Russell and her husband John, numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

For over 25 years, he took great pride in the home he built, proudly named "The Parson’s Paradise."

— Betsye Russell




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