Barbara (Hawes) Blake
June 15, 1929 to April 15, 2023
Barbara Blake passed away peacefully at Vanderbilt Medical Center with her daughter at her side in the early hours of April 15.
She was born in Evanston, Illinois to parents Harold Harlan Hawes and Elizabeth Grace (Boring) Hawes. The only child of Harold and Elizabeth, she graduated from Denison University with a BA in English and a fondness for archery.
Cupid struck several years later when she met Joseph Hingeley Blake at work at American Hospital Supply Corporation in the 1950’s. They married and had two children whom they adored, Josh and Liz. Bar supported Joe throughout his career at “American” and then later as an accomplished interior designer on Chicago’s North Shore. Her keen eye most certainly contributed.
Meanwhile, she spoiled Josh and Liz to no end. Jell-0 for Josh and coffee ice cream for Liz after school were the order of the day. Yet she maintained a firm grip on their upbringing. Being the daughter of a banker, and being on top of the finances, she didn’t like to borrow money. When Josh took a quarter from the coin jar to buy a popsicle on a hot summer’s Sunday evening from the ice cream truck because his weekly allowance of 10 cents had been spent days ago, she was quick to admonish him for “borrowing” the quarter. She fought hard for Liz to go to nursery school too, even though Joe concluded it hadn’t helped Josh much. She didn’t win that one, but she made her point: being fair mattered.
She and Joe moved to Nashville in 1995 so they could be doting grandparents to Liz’s children. Josh and his kids were in Australia so that was never going to happen given Bar’s fear of flying. Just like a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus (which Bar loved and laughed out loud when viewing), Liz and her husband promptly moved to Savannah for his work. Unflustered, Bar and Joe carried on and became outstanding citizens of Nashville.
Joe died in 2003 and she was suddenly on her own. But her trust in the Lord strengthened and consoled her. Even as her vision deteriorated, she avidly read her Large Print Bible. She continued to live independently with the help of friends from her church, who faithfully drove her to Tuesday Bible studies, Wednesday night, dinners, and Sunday services.
She had an amazing capacity for life. Her mind was razor-sharp to the end. She never had any prescription medications and was even driving into her 90’s - although her children were quick to say “no need to pick us up at the airport” to keep Nashville’s freeways flowing safely. While freeways were not her forte, kindness and generosity she owned in spades.
Barbara was loved by all who knew her, and the world is a better place for her grace. We are confident that she is at peace with the Lord.
Barbara is predeceased by her parents Harold and Elizabeth Hawes, her husband Joseph Hingeley Blake and her son-in-law Richard Warren Mays. Survivors include her son Joseph Hawes “Josh” (Anna) Blake, Josh’s children Samuel Johnston Blake, Maxwell Hawes Blake, and Madeleine Rose Blake (Javier) Prado. On her daughter’s side, she is survived by Elizabeth “Liz” (Blake) Mays and her daughters Sharon Grace Mays and Kathryn Mays (Chris) Folsom. And lastly, she was absolutely over the moon to be the great-grandmother of Madeleine and Javi’s baby boy Sydney born in Salt Lake City on December 27, 2022. She never met him but maybe in 93 years or so she will. Won’t that be special!
Funeral Services will be held on Friday, April 28, 2023 at 2pm in the Stephens Valley Church, 6000 Pasquo Rd., Nashville, TN. The family will receive friends an hour before the service. Burial will take place in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago, IL.