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Sarah Emma Blair
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Obituary for Sarah Emma Blair

“Emy” Evans Blair, longtime resident of Stone Mountain, died peacefully in her home on November 13, 2017. Emy was the embodiment of a southern steel magnolia not only because of her lilting Piedmont accent, halo of silver hair and regal demeanor, but also because of her razor-sharp mind, saucy and irreverent wit, unyielding will, and unselfish dedication to family and community.

Emy was born into the Evans family during the Great Depression but it was service to the community rather than hardship that gave shape to her early life. Her grandfather, Dr. W.T. McCurdy, and her father, Dr. Rufus Evans, tended to the medical needs of DeKalb County’s residents in the early 1920s and then helped found the county’s first health department and hospital authority. Her mother, Sarah McCurdy, managed their home-life in all aspects. Education was important in their family and Emy excelled academically, first at Decatur High School and then at Agnes Scott College where she majored in Chemistry.

She met her future soulmate one morning during high school while waiting for the streetcar in Decatur. She and Duane Blair did not begin a serious courtship for three years, but still that day was fateful for them both. She remembered him as handsome and charismatic but more interested in hunting and fishing than dating. Still he was tall and that was certainly something a woman of tall stature had to consider, as she tells it. They dated while she pursued her degree at Agnes Scott and he studied pre-medicine at Emory’s Oxford campus. After her graduation in 1952 they married during his junior year in medical school at Emory. Thus began one of those very rare, deeply committed and flirtatiously affectionate life-long loves all young couples hope for-- a truly intimate partnership founded in respect and mutual interests that lasted 63 years until Duane’s death in 2015.

Emy remembered the early lean years as some of their best and most cherished. While Duane finished his medical training she worked as a chemist for Seydel-Woolley & Co. Those initial work experiences as a female chemist greatly influenced her continued commitment to women’s education and empowerment. When she and Duane moved to Beaufort, SC during his time as a Navy Surgeon they cultivated interests in cooking and travel and made friendships that lasted the rest of their lives. Eventually they returned to Decatur where Duane set up his surgical practice. He treated patients and Emy successfully managed every other aspect of their business for 43 years. Even though Emy and Duane did not have children they drew extended family and friends close and became the center of hospitality by hosting celebrations, holidays, fundraisers, and gatherings of every sort in their home. The annual family beach trip to Jekyll Island each summer featured her and sister-in-law Jean Blair masterfully overseeing “loaves and fishes” style expanding meals for dozens as members married and had children. No doubt exhausting but how she reveled in the sound of children, the bustle and laughter of the group, a steaming pot of her favorite Georgia shrimp, the breaking of bread together with a sip of wine at sunset while listening to the waves crash.

She has endured the absence of her beloved Duane for two years and is released from that particular ache. However it is a painful and sudden departure for those left without her. She will be remembered for all of the things mentioned above and also for her philanthropic generosity to healthcare organizations and to educational institutions and those that serve animals. Also for her generosity to her family, her adventurous spirit, her love of travel, mystery novels, fried shrimp, the color purple, the antics of cats, loyal dogs, truffles, ice cream, good tomatoes, cooking programs, and college football.

In addition to her husband, Henry Duane Blair, she is preceded in death by her mother and father, Sarah and Rufus Evans, MD and her brother William “Bill” McCurdy Evans. She is survived by nieces Nan Evans Vogler (Lonnie), Sally Evans Hovis (George), Pamela D. Blair, Kimmie Fortenberry Siegelson (Henry), Karen Fortenberry Beavor (Derrek), and
nephews William "Bill" McCurdy Evans, Jr. (Olivia) and Duane E. Fortenberry (Mary) as well her godchild Carol Myers Duffy, in-laws Warner and Jean Blair, Carole and Elmo Fortenberry, numerous great and great-great nephews and nieces, friends, Sammy the black lab, and beloved feline companions. Her love for us is a legacy we cherish.

A Celebration of Life will be held at AS Turner & Sons, 2773 N Decatur Road, Decatur, GA from 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Tributes or donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to The DeKalb Medical Foundation at dekalbmedical.org/foundation or by calling 404.501.5956 or PAWS Atlanta (A No-Kill Animal Shelter & Pet Rescue) 5287 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30035.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Thursday

16

Nov

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
A. S. Turner & Sons Chapel

2773 N. Decatur Road
Decatur, GA 30033


Memorial Contribution

PAWS Atlanta

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