Elder Louis Harold Bland, who departed this life on October 10, 1953, was born June 28, 1893, at Newellton, Louisiana. He was the oldest of twelve children of Maxwell and Catherine Bland.
On May 7, 1912, he was united in marriage with Juanita Neal. From this union six children were born, four boys and two girls.
In 1915, Elder Bland accepted the third angel's message under the leadership of the late Elder Sydney Scott. He immediately became active in church work and lay evangelism. In 1917 he entered the ministry and accepted his first call to serve as pastor of the church in Brownsville, Tennessee. He successfully labored in Jackson, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; and Baltimore, Maryland.
It was while he was serving as pastor of the Baltimore church that he accepted the call in October 1944 to be the president of the newly formed Northeastern Conference, which he served faithfully until his death.
He leaves to mourn him: a wife [Juanita]; four sons—Louis, Jr., Charles Neal, William Maxwell, Milton Wardell; two daughters—Marjorie Smallwood and Doris Arthur; six grandchildren; a brother, Elder F. L. Bland, president of the Central States Conference; a sister, Mrs. Ophelia Brown; several additional relatives, and a host of friends and coworkers.
Surely a prince has fallen in Israel, but we bow humbly to the will of God. To know him was to love and honor him. His life was dedicated to daily service in the vineyard of the Lord. Wherever he went, he made friends and kept all of these friends through the years. To work with him was a pleasure.
The funeral service of our beloved president was held at the Ephesus (N.Y.) S.D.A. church, Tuesday evening at eight o'clock, October 13, 1953. By 7:30 p.m. every unreserved seat was taken and people were standing three deep in the rear of the church and also the balcony. After the opening hymn, "Abide with Me," was sung, Elder V. L. Roberts, secretary-treasurer of the
Northeastern Conference, read the Scripture reading. Prayer was offered by Elder T. R. Gardner, secretary-treasurer of the Atlantic Union Conference. Then the City Tabernacle Choir sang so beautifully the song, "Waiting and Watching," which was the song that was being sung when
Elder Bland accepted the truth back in 1915 under the tent when the invitation was made.
Two-minute reflections were given by Elders O. A. Troy, H. E. Singleton, H. Murphy, W. W. Fordham, and H. W. Kibble. Mrs. Alma Blackman of Washington, D.C., sang "The Lord's Prayer," which soothed every heart. More two-minute reflections were given by Elders J. H. Wagner, W. H. Branson, J. G. Dasent, G. E. Peters, and F. L. Peterson. Before the obituary was given by Dr. E. B. Dykes, Mrs. Rosa Lee Jones sang effectively, "Just When I Need Him Most."
Realizing that over two hundred telegrams and over two hundred cards would be a hardship to acknowledge singly, Elder W. S. Lee spoke words of gratitude and appreciation in a general way for each condolence that was received. "Jesus Will Walk With Me" was sung by the choir, after which Elder L. E. Lenheim, president of the Atlantic Union Conference, gave the eulogy. The bier seemed to be buried in flowers which were too numerous to mention, and as hundreds and hundreds of people filed past slowly paying their last respects to their beloved president, with saddened and heavy hearts and moistened eyes, one could only long for Jesus to come and put an end to all sorrow, sickness, pain, and death. Elder T. D. Wilson of the Buffalo church gave the benediction. Elder Bland was laid to rest at the Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx, New York, just a few feet from the grave of the late L.O. Irons, the first secretary-treasurer of the conference, on Wednesday morning, October 14, 1953, there to await the call of the Life-giver.
For the past nine years, the Northeastern Conference of S.D.A., under the leadership of Elder L. H. Bland and the blessings of God, has made tremendous strides in soul-winning, church property, tithes and offerings, and spiritual application.
Elder Bland will be greatly missed from coast to coast, especially from the office where he labored so hard and diligently endeavoring to finish the Lord's work this part of the vineyard.
We shall miss his gentle voice, his wise counsel, is firm handshake, his lovely smile, is sincere prayers, his practical sermons, and his leadership. Even though ranked with the highest officials of the denomination, he was a friend to the lowly and the friendless. He lived with and for the people.
For solace those who read this obituary and all those who mourn, we would like to share one of his favorite passages of Scripture from Romans 8 that was a part of his daily life:
"And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. . . For we are saved by hope. . . and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. . . . Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
“The Death of Elder L.H. Bland,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, October 26, 1953, pgs. 1-2.