Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lt. Commander Delis William Blake

Delis "Fisher" Blake was the youngest son of Lee and Civilla Blake. He attended the Orlando Grade School. Delis went on to Burnsville High School and after graduation in 1938 he attended Glenville State College. After graduating from GSC, Dellis taught school at the Red Lick School, just up the road from his home place. Fisher's daughter Bonnie picks up her dad's story at this point.
To the left: Ensign Delis Blake with sisters Phyllis and Mae.

by Bonnie (Blake) Delashmit

My Father, Lt. Commander Delis William Blake, United States Navy served in both WWII and the Korean conflict. My Dad was teaching school when the U.S. declared war on the axis powers. He went to Baltimore and enlisted in the Navy. After serving a short while, the Navy sent my father to Northwestern University to their War College. He graduated from there and was commissioned. His commands in the Navy were on submarines in the begining. He always said that submarine warfare was "tin can warfare one mile under water". His shipmates used to marvel how a farmboy from West Virginia had the best sea legs they'd ever seen. He never got seasick even in hurricane weather. He traveled all over the globe under water and loved the sea.

At the end of the war he was in charge of guarding the Pananma Canal and was a close friend of the Panamanian President. My father was deeply grieved when the Panamanian President was assasinated.

He met my mother while in port in New York City in 1943. Both of them said it was love at first sight. They met on a train in the city. They wrote letters to each other after he was deployed and were married in 1944. My brother Robert was born in 1946, Ronald in 1948 and Reginald in 1950. I was born in 1970. My parents were married 52 years when he passed away on October 10,1998. After WWII my parents lived in NYC for a short time and then moved to Connecticut where he and a Navy buddy opened a grocery store. My Dad and his partner didn't think the "new fangled frozen foods" were going to be very popular with the general public and didn't invest in freezers to stock it. My Dad used to say "and the rest is history". After the store closed they moved to Florida and my third brother was born. They settled in Coral Gables, a section of Miami. My Dad was in the Naval Reserve and they used to go to the Officer's Club with my brothers all the time.
Above right: Delis Blake in high school.
Below right: Ed, Pearl, Delis and Mae, children of Lee & Civilla Blake.
He worked for an insurance company named British American and he covered the Florida/Puerto Rico/Jamaica/Bahamas/Cuba territory. My parents had a summer home in the Bahamas that they went to every year. He was called up for service when the Korean conflict broke out and served on an aircraft carrier, which he liked a lot better than submarines. He said that this tour of duty was drastically different from WWII in that his job was more of a policeman than a soldier. But that's another story.

After Korea my parents moved to Winter Park Florida. My Dad's nephew, Pat Harkins and his wife Kathy were living there also. My Mom and Dad spent a lot of time with them.

My brothers grew up and moved away and then I was born. My father's company merged with another and he was "downsized". We moved to Mobile Alabama and a year later to Houston Texas. We moved from Houston Texas to Greensboro North Carolina when I was 4 in 1974. We moved to Jackson Mississippi in 1979 and my mother still lives there today. My father stayed in the insurance business until 1988 when he retired and bought a dry cleaners. He had a love of history especially biblical history. He read avidly and would teach adult sunday school classes at St. Mark's United Methodist Church.

My Dad loved animals and we always had a dog or a cat. He wanted me to get as much education as possible and was watching my grades very closely in college. He was extrememly proud when I finished graduate school with an M.B.A.

To the left: Delis' parents Lee and Civilla (Riffle) Blake
See the Mar '07 entry about Delis Blake's dad at Lee Blake – Orlando Lumberman & Genealogist

See the Aug '07 entry about Delis' rother Ed at Edward Rucks Blake

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