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Lottie Isbell Blake (1876-1976)


Lottie Cornella Isbell Blake was born June 10, 1876, in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, in the home of her maternal grandfather, John Diuguid, a free man whose home was next to the famous Isbell Plantation where General Lee surrendered to General Grant, thus ending the Civil War.

After completing high school in 1894 she pursued a teacher’s course, completing this training in 1896.  It was in this same year that she became a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It was her zeal to become a missionary nurse that led her to Battle Creek, Michigan, and the famous Battle Creek Sanitarium, where the noted physician, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg operated.  It was he, who, noticing her scholastic ability, encouraged her to pursue the medical course. 

Her first missionary field led her to the South where she labored as director of the Rock City Sanitarium at Nashville, Tennessee (the forerunner of Riverside Hospital & Sanitarium).  She was also a practicing physician in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was during this period that frequent trips were made to Huntsville Oakwood Manual Training School, now Oakwood University, to serve where she was needed. 

After her marriage to David Blake, a minister, who became a medical doctor, the couple engaged in self-supporting medical missionary work in Central America and the Caribbean.  After 10 years of marriage, her husband died, leaving his wife with the responsibility of rearing their five children, which she did ably. 

In 1975, in her honor, the “Lottie C. Blake Medical Lectureships” were established at Oakwood University church.  On June 10, 1976, Dr. Blake celebrated her 100th birthday.  On the morning of November 16, 1976, she quietly slipped away at the home of her daughter in Huntsville, Alabama. 

She leaves to mourn their loss a sister, Mrs. Veola Cox; four daughters: Miss Frances Blake, Dr. Sarah Blake, Mrs. Louise Neil and Mrs. Alice Brantley; one son, Thomas Blake; nine grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.  Perhaps her greatest legacy has been the inspiration which she has given her family and others to serve mankind as medical personnel: some of whom were, her husband, Dr. David Blake; an aunt who was younger than she, Dr. Grace Kimbrough; her daughter, Dr. Sarah K. Blake; a niece, Dr. Muriel Robinson; a grandson, Dr. Richard Neil; her grandson-in-law, Dr. James Holmes; and a great-grandson, Dr. Keith Wood.

-"Obituaries," Southern Tidings, March 1977, pg. 26