Lemuel Showell Blades, III, 78, of 917 Riverside Avenue, Elizabeth City, NC died June 14, 2011 in the Guardian Care Nursing. He was born on February 20, 1933 in Elizabeth City, NC to the late L. S. Blades, Jr. and the late Eliza O’Hagan Laughinghouse Blades. Mr. Blades is survived by two sons, L. S. Blades, IV of Rock Hill, SC and Walter Caldwell Blades of Carrollton, GA; two granddaughters, Catherine O’Hagan Blades of Brooklyn, New York and Eliza McHenry Blades of Charleston, SC; a sister, Mary Charles Blades Ferris and husband, Robert of Cape Coral, FL; three nephews and six nieces. His wife of 46 years, Nancy Ann Caldwell Blades preceded him in death on February 1, 2005.
Mr. Blades attended local schools and the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA. He received his A.B. degree in History from Trinity College, Duke University in 1955 and his L.L.B. from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1958.
He began his career as law partner with his father in the law firm of Blades & Blades; later became general counsel and finally president of Norfolk Carolina Telephone Company. After the company’s 1979 merger with now Century Link and until his retirement in 1996, he served Century Link’s predecessor as political, business and community liaison for an eleven-county area, which was headquartered in New Bern, NC.
Among other business affiliations, he was president of Apex Chemical Company; director of NC Independent Telephone Association, Southern Insurance Agency, Inc., Southern Mortgage Company, director of the Elizabeth City branch of First Union National Bank, director of the multi-county Highway 17 Association. He also served on the board of directors of several Chambers of Commerce and other area development organizations in the central coastal area of North Carolina.
Mr. Blades was a lifelong Presbyterian, serving as chairperson of the diaconate and clerk of the session of Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth City, NC and clerk of the session of First Presbyterian Church of New Bern, NC. He became a Rotarian in 1958 in Elizabeth City and joined it in New Bern soon after his arrival there. He was a member of the Elizabeth City Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. Mr. Blades served as chair of Albemarle Hospital, chair of New Bern Planning and Zoning Board, chair of New Bern Electoral System Revision Blue Ribbon Committee; president of Pasquotank County Historical Society, chair of New Bern 275th Anniversary Celebration; secretary of New Bern Health Development Corporation, secretary of Pasquotank River Yacht Club; member of the deGraffenried Memorial Committee (honoring the founder of New Bern and his worldwide descendants); board member of WTEB Public Radio Foundation. At his death, he was serving as a director of Friends of the Museum of the Albemarle and a regular volunteer with the Family Research Society of Northeastern North Carolina. As an amateur genealogist, Mr. Blades amassed records tying more than 3000 families to his marriage.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, June 18, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. in Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church by Rev. Jim Still and Thomas Wilson. Burial will be beside his beloved wife, Nancy, in the Old Hollywood Cemetery in Elizabeth City, NC. The family will be at their residence, 917 Riverside Avenue, Elizabeth City, NC. Anyone wishing to send memorial gifts is asked to consider Cann Memorial Presbyterian Church, PO Box 2818, Elizabeth City, NC 27907-2818 or one’s favorite charity. Twiford Funeral Home, 405 E. Church Street, Elizabeth City is serving the Blades family. Online memorial condolences may be sent to the family at www.twifordfh.com.