Ernestine Blair

Ernestine M. Blair

1912 - 2007

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Obituary of Ernestine M. Blair

Ernestine Melissa (Smith) Blair, 94, of Oaknoll Retirement Residence, Iowa City, died April 8, 2007. Ernestine had arranged for her body to be given to the University Of Iowa College of Medicine. Arrangements for a memorial service will be announced at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Oaknoll Foundation, 1 Oaknoll Ct, Iowa City, IA 52246. Survivors include her husband, Louis B. Blair; daughters, Alice Riley of Indianola, IA; Blair Moser and her husband, Charles of San Francisco, CA and Virginia Blair of Iowa City; son John Blair and his wife, Becky of Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia; foster daughter, Yasmina Manning and her husband, Bob of Boston, MA; six grandchildren; two foster grandchildren; three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her brothers Bryant and George Smith, her sister Gypsie Virginia Merrill and son-in-law Joseph Riley. Ernestine was born to Grover C. and Gypsie (Bayless) Smith on October 31, 1912 in Canton, NC. She received her primary and secondary education at Canton, NC, and Chattanooga, TN. She attended Asheville Normal College in North Carolina and Maryville College in Tennessee. After college, she was employed by the Champion Paper Company in Canton, NC. On July 24, 1935 in Canton, she married Louis B. Blair of Cincinnati, OH, whom she’d met while they were both attending Maryville College. In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Ernestine was active in church work in Cincinnati, Ironton and Columbus, OH, and from 1948-1998 in Cedar Rapids, IA. At St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids, she was chairperson for her Church Circle, active in her Sunday school class and other church programs. Ernestine was a past board member of Camp Hitaga and was for many years active in the Cedar Rapids PTA-for a while, at three schools simultaneously. In 1998, Ernestine and her husband moved from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City to be closer to their youngest daughter, Ginny Blair. Ernestine and her family benefited from the friendship and care of the Oaknoll staff and residents. Ernestine was an excellent cook and avid reader. She also enjoyed traveling and did much of the planning for trips that included all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Australia, the South Pacific and Eastern Asia.