Christina "Chris" Belle (Bryant) Blank, 94, of Effingham, formerly of Mount Vernon and Marion, passed away at 10:40 p.m. Jan. 17, 2019 at Evergreen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Effingham.
Chris was born June 6, 1924 in Mill Shoals to the late Rev. James Thomas and Celia Hildegard (Maricle) Bryant. She married Harold J. Blank on Oct. 31, 1947 and he preceded her in death on June 13, 1970.
Chris is survived by her children, Karen Blank-Ewell of Effingham, Kathy Jane Smith and husband, Charles, of Effingham, James Weldon Blank and wife, Laura, of Catonsville, Maryland, and Kristina Marie Blank Makansi and husband, Jason, of Tucson, Arizona; eight grandchildren, Justin Smith and wife, Rena, of Crestwood, Kentucky, Jennifer Wolczyk and husband, Ian, of Nashville, Tennessee, Kristina Lehman and husband, Jonathan, of Mount Vernon, Charles Ewell and wife, Sarah, of Marion, Amira Makansi and partner, Vince, of Ashland, Oregon, Elena Makansi of Tucson, Arizona, Amy Blank of Catonsville, Maryland, and Stephen Blank of Catonsville, Maryland; four great-grandchildren, Jacob Smith, Suzannah Smith, Violet Wolczyk and Roman Wolczyk; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents and husband, Chris was preceded in death by her sister, Coral Biama; brother, Kenneth Bryant; and son-in-law, Stephen Ewell.
Chris taught first grade at Longfellow Elementary School in Marion for many years. Prior to that she taught in a one-room rural schoolhouse. She received a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University and later pursued a master's degree.
In the family, she was known as the "Dog Whisperer." She loved the family pets and is survived by several grand-dogs and grand-cats. She was a long-standing member of the First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon with extensive years of service in many areas of the church, including teaching Sunday school and volunteering with Angels on Assignment and the United Methodist Children's Home.
The Jefferson County Senior Saints Hall of Fame Committee, in conjunction with the city of Mount Vernon, recognized her as a 2016 Senior Saint for her many years of community and civic involvement. She was dearly loved and will be missed by all who knew her.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 at First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon. A morning visitation will take place from 9 a.m. to service time at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, also at the church. The Revs. Victor Long, Murrell Nance, Christine Cunningham and Karen Blank-Ewell will officiate.
Interment will follow at Rose Hill Cemetery in Marion. Memorials, in her loving memory, may be given to Angels on Assignment.
Call Hughey Funeral Home at (618) 242-3348 or visit hugheyfh.com for further information.