Mary Babb Blythe

Published 11:19 am Friday, August 6, 2021

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FRANKLIN – Mary Elizabeth Babb Blythe, 100, of Franklin, died on Aug. 5, 2021 in The Village at Woods Edge. The youngest child of John and Mary “Mamie” Babb of Windsor, she was the widow of W. Irvin Blythe. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by brothers, John H. Babb Jr. and William T. Babb; sisters, Georgia B. Stewart and Annie B. Copeland; a great-granddaughter Sarah Fisher Blythe and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Mary Babb Blythe

She is survived by her son, Wayne and daughter-in-law Cheryl Blythe; grandsons, Randall Blythe, Mark Blythe, Scott (Bianca) Blythe, Andrew Blythe; great-grandson, Lucas Blythe; nieces, Kitty Henry, Carolyn Parrish, Patsy Copeland and Pauline Austin; a nephew, John S. (Nelda) Copeland; former daughter-in-law, Susan Blythe; honorary niece, Sylvia Lowe; dear neighbors Dale and Lisa Cisco; and numerous distant cousins.

She was the last surviving member of Windsor High School Class of 1939. Troubled by poor eyesight her entire life, she nonetheless excelled in penmanship and won the Blue Ribbon in that category at the 1937 Isle of Wight County Fair.

Mary, known to nieces and nephews as “Baya,” was in her element as a loving farm wife, mother, grandmother and homemaker, cooking, managing books and delivering thousands of eggs, among other myriad tasks. After her husband’s death, she cared for her mother-in-law, Etta Blythe, with whom she lived a total of 31 years. She found a second career outside the home working in the office of Dixie Plant Farm where she felt like family. She also cheerfully assisted in rearing her grandsons.

Baptized into the fellowship of Colosse Baptist Church, she surprised even her husband by moving her membership to his congregation (which eventually became Hunterdale United Church of Christ – now Hunterdale Christian Church) several years into their marriage where she became an active member of the Women’s Fellowship, served as Deaconess and lived to be the oldest member. She was supportive of United Church of Christ ministries and remained loyal to most of the progressive ideals of that denomination. Above all, she appreciated a dignified order of worship.

Mary enjoyed refinishing furniture and reading, but nothing pleased her more than cooking for her family and friends. She drove many miles delivering her dishes to the sick and shut-in, expecting nothing in return except her empty containers ready to be refilled.

A memorial service will be on Monday, Aug. 9, at 10:30 a.m. in Poplar Spring Cemetery, Franklin with visitation one-half hour prior to the service. Given the resurgent danger of COVID-19 variants, the family requests the wearing of masks.

The family expresses heartfelt appreciation for the wonderful care given to Mary by staff of The Village at Woods Edge and by doctors, Bidwell, Bland, Ponder, Romano and Thornton. As well, the kindness of friends and neighbors extended her years at home on Storys Station Road.

In lieu of flowers, Mary had requested donations in her memory to Macular Degeneration Research. The family suggests donations to Duke Eye Center. Checks may be mailed to Duke Eye Center Development, Attn: Regina Long, Duke University/ADR, Box 90581, Durham, N.C. 27708. Please note “Mary Blythe” in the memo line of the check. Gifts may also be made online at: