Essie ‘Joann’ Frye Blakeley

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Mrs. Essie “Joann” Frye Blakeley, 85, of Howardtown Circle, Mocksville, passed away peacefully with her daughters by her side on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.

She was born on Oct. 25, 1938 in her family’s farmhouse in Davie County to her parents, Edgar David and Susie Plott Frye.

Joann graduated from Davie County Consolidated High School in 1957. At the tender age of 18, just a week after graduating from high school, she married her sweetheart, Robert Uriah Blakeley while he was home on leave from the U.S. Army. Robert and Joann met at the Masonic Picnic in Mocksville, and their first date was a ferris wheel ride. Together, Robert and Joann enjoyed 50 years of marriage, farming for much of that time and raising two vibrant daughters, Susan Blakeley Anderson and Cathy Blakeley Speight.

Joann worked at Hanes Knitwear for 33 years, then retired to do what she loved most: feed, care for, and visit with other people. Joann loved children, and she worked as an assistant at Bethlehem Angels Preschool for many years. Joann adored her granddaughters, Ellen and Hannah, and spent countless hours teaching them to cook, sew, garden, craft, and laugh throughout their lives. Between 2017 and 2023, Joann welcomed five great-grandsons, Dawson, Asa, Jackson, John David, and Merrick. They were her pride and joy, the light of her life. Her greatest pleasure was found in spending time with them, watching them grow, and sneaking them candy, sugar cookies, and Klondike Bars.

Joann was a true spitfire, a hilarious and feisty woman. She loved to bake, garden, and can, and she especially enjoyed making bread and blackberry jelly. Joann rarely met strangers and had a knack for talking to anyone and making friends with just about anybody. A lifelong member of Dulin Church and a faithful member and past Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, Joann had a servant’s heart. She was regularly known to “keep the road hot” visiting others, especially her neighbors, and she was always generous and giving. Joann loved to travel. She and Robert traveled all over the United States, driving to Alaska three times, and camping in many different places. Joann leaves a beautiful legacy behind, one full of funny sayings and love of family and friends.

Joann’s memory will be carried forward by: her daughters, Susan Blakeley Anderson (Dan) and Cathy Blakeley Speight; her granddaughters, Ellen Hefner (Cory) and Hannah Klepeisz (David); and great-grandsons, Dawson, Asa, Merrick (Ellen) and Jackson and John David (Hannah).

In addition to her parents, Joann was preceded in death by her husband, Robert Uriah Blakeley, and is survived by many beloved brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

A service to honor Joann’s legacy and celebrate her life will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 10 at Dulin Church with Mr. Marty Carter officiating. Interment will follow in the church cemetery. A reception with refreshments will follow immediately in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be donated to Dulin Church, 897 Dulin Road, Mocksville, NC 27028 memo: Children & Youth Programming.

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