Geraldine Spell Blanchard
April 24, 1931 – March 23, 2019
VIDALIA— A memorial mass for Geraldine Spell Blanchard, 87, Natchez, who died Saturday, March 23, 2019, will be 4 p.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 503 Texas St., in Vidalia.
A visitation/reception will be at 2 p.m. Saturday in the parish hall at the church.
Local arrangements are under the direction of Laird Funeral Home.
Mrs. Blanchard was born April 24, 1931, in Golden Meadow, La., the daughter of Doyle Spell and Carrie Falgout Spell.
The Spell family moved to New Orleans, there, Gerry attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Corteau, La., and St. Mary’s Dominican School in New Orleans. She and her husband, Sam, who was from Natchez, married in 1950. Their son, Samuel Lees “Chip” Blanchard Jr., lived his entire life with his mother as a most devoted son.
The Blanchards were longtime residents of Waveland where Gerry and Chip endured a number of hardships — the loss of their home in Hurricane Camille in 1969, the death of Sam in 1978 and the loss of the home they shared with Carrie Spell in Hurricane Katrina. She spent her life as a caregiver — her son, father, husband, mother, her aunt Molly, nieces and nephews, and anyone else who was in her orbit.
Gerry supported herself and Chip with a variety of endeavors. As an avid needle worker — she owned a needlepoint shop, operated her own child care center and sold or gifted hundreds of amazing hand-sewn smocked Easter eggs, for which she was renowned. However, she managed to have fun as well. Her best friend for more than 50 years, Nancy Gex, and she were charter members of the Krewe of Nereids Mardi Gras group and participated together in a number of balls, parades and other escapades.
After Katrina, Gerry, Carrie and Chip went to live in Fairhope, Ala., where her brother, Doyle “Bubba” Spell and his family lived. After Carrie died at the age of 95, Gerry began to yearn to move back to Natchez for a number of reasons, including her four nieces and nephews who lives in Natchez, old friends and to try and escape the sphere of hurricanes. In 2009, the Blanchard and Spell families decided to make the move, and have been in Natchez for 10 years. Her slow but steady and debilitating decline in health did not vanquish her quick wit and sometimes wicked sense of humor — and she relished having so much family near her.
Gerry was one of the most generous people in the world, even when she had little to give from a monetary standpoint. She was a wonderful friend who loved to cook for friends and family, sewed unknown numbers of smocked dresses for nieces and friends and was always available when anyone needed help. As she became more confined, she continued to make a few smocked eggs — her fondest hobby was reading cookbooks.
Gerry and her brother were extremely close and maintained that they never had an argument throughout their lives. She babysat and loved his five children for more than 60 years.
Blanchard was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Samuel Lees Blanchard.
Survivors include her son; her brother and wife, Mary Ann; nine nieces and nephews, Doyle “Buddy” Spell Jr. and wife, Annie, Jane Spell Smith and husband, Terry, Susan Spell James and husband, Philip, Mary Margaret “Maggie” Spell, Cary Petter Spell and wife, Caitlyn, her Natchez contingent, Mary Lees Wilson, Gary Edwards and wife, Jeanne, Duke Edwards and wife, Paula, and Gigi Johnson; great-nieces and great-nephews, Sarah Jane Spell, Melissa Loria, Megan Loria, Philip, William and Andrew James, and from Natchez, Stephen Edwards, Caroline Edwards Hinson, Preston Edwards and Justin Johnson, who have thus far provided her with 10 great-great-nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Stanislaus College, 304 S. Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis, MS 39520 or the Stew Pot, P.O. Box 298, Natchez, MS 39121.
The family also wishes to thank Gerry’s caregivers. Faye Woods has kept her (and Chip) safe and well-fed for a number of years and has gone above and beyond the call of duty at every turn. Gerry had recently decided she needed 24-hour care and Heart2Heart Homecare Services was enlisted. Special thanks to Latoya Carter for making things run so smoothly and also Pamela Chapman who was on duty when Gerry died. However, all the Heart2Heart employees have been wonderful to all of us.
Gerry will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but will always be remembered for her generosity and humorous anecdotes. Her death is regarded by us as a blessing with the knowledge that she is at peace and no longer struggling to stay with us.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.