Monday, October 5, 2020

52 Ancestors - OLDEST: Aunt Mary

from Findagrave
Memorial #21972727 by Steve Poole

Probably the oldest member of my family is one that I knew and remember: my paternal grandfather’s youngest sister, Mary Elizabeth Slade Blanchard. Just a short 8 years ago, she died at the ripe old age of 101. 

I have no excuse for having NO picture of Aunt Mary. Several years before she died, my sister and I visited with her to learn more about the Slade side of the family. Did we think to take a picture? NO! But we did enjoy visiting with her and looking at some old photos.  

Mary was next-to-the-youngest of 6 children born to Stephen and Mary Morrison Slade, 4 boys and 2 girls. Her father was a truck farmer, first in Tanners Creek area of Norfolk, then Princess Anne County, now Virginia Beach, and later in the Sleepy Hole district of Nansemond County, now Suffolk.

As a child she loved playing hopscotch and jumping rope.

Shortly before Stephen died, he moved the family to Portsmouth where he worked for the City. Apparently Mary never worked outside the home. In the 1930 and 1940 censuses, her mother and sister were both employed; however, she was not. It seems her role in the family was to cook and clean.

Mary was 33 in 1944 when she married Melvin George “Spick” Blanchard. Neither she nor her sister Margaret had children. Mary said that she thought there was something genetic about that and was very interested in whether my sister and I had children, citing who all in the family did not. Her obituary shows she enjoyed a close relationship with nieces and nephews.

SUFFOLK- Mary Slade Blanchard, 101, formerly of Chesapeake, died February 6, 2012 in her home. A native of Princess Anne County, she was the widow of Spick Blanchard. Mrs. Blanchard was a member of Jolliff United Methodist Church and the Chesapeake Senior Citizens Club. Survivors include her great-niece and loving caregiver, Connie Parkman; a nephew, Leo Slade; three nieces, Shirley Slade, Rosealee Slade, and Mary Ann Flahiff; and church family at Jolliff UMC. The family would like to extend a special thanks to the nurses and aids with Bon Secours Hospice. A funeral service will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, at 1 PM in Sturtevant Funeral Home, Portsmouth Blvd. Chapel by the Rev. Waverly Smith. Burial will be in Olive Branch Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Thursday from 7-8 PM.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Interesting no picture! But she seemed to live a full life to 101 without children. Maybe that is the secret to long life :)


  2. How wonderful that her "church family" were called out in her obituary.