Florence Blacknall Elrod died on Tuesday, November 24, 1998, at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. She died in the ICU after being on a ventilator for 30 days. Her death was due to ARDS that resulted from hospital acquired pneumonia, which she developed following knee replacement surgery. She was a wonderful lady, who was loved and cherished by her family, her friends, and by all who knew her. This Memorial is in her honor. It is but a glimpse into the life of a wonderful, caring, and loving Mother who always put the interests and needs of others far ahead of her own.

Mom was born in Henderson, N.C., on April 29, 1916, to Willis Hayes Blacknall and Elizabeth Perry Blacknall. Along with her older sister, Mary Hayes, and her younger brother, Willis H. Blacknall, Jr., she grew up in the family house located at 315 Charles Street. As a young woman, she was noted for her beauty. She worked briefly at Rose's Five & Ten Cents Store, as it was then called, and people were known to frequent the store just to admire her beauty and grace. On December 29, 1941, she married her husband of 52 years, J. E. Elrod, Jr., of Charlotte, N.C. After World War II, she and her husband, along with their two small children, moved to Charlotte and lived at 2633 Idlewood Circle for years thereafter. Her first child, Anne Elrod Meroney, resides in Atlanta. Her second child, Joseph E. Elrod III, lives in Greensboro, N.C., with his wife, Linda. Mom lived in Greensboro for the last 20 years of her life. She lost her husband to leukemia in 1994, but remained fully independent thereafter.

Mom had many, many friends throughout her life. Two that stand out in particular were Mrs. A. V. Elkin of Charlotte, and Mrs. Ruth Armstrong of Greensboro. Both loved her as though she were a sister. Mom loved her children and grandchildren, and enjoyed her trips to the coast each year with Joe and Linda, as well as the many holiday celebrations that took place in Atlanta with Anne. She had a very loving and special relationship with Linda, her daughter-in-law. Mom was an active member of the Rachel Caldwell Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, having served as Vice Regent, as Librarian, and on many committees and dele ga tions. She was a member of the West Market Street United Methodist Church. In addition to Joe, Linda, and Anne, she was survived by her grandchildren, Mary Craig Dimmett of Kennesaw, Georgia; Meggan Elrod Piehl of Chapel Hill, N.C.; Mark B. Elrod of San Carlos, California; and Katherine P. Meroney of Atlanta; and by two great grandchildren, Jackson Perry Dimmett and Charles Mark Piehl.

Perhaps some insight can be gained into Mom's character by virtue of the following poem by an unknown author that she copied and left in a place where she knew it would be found following her death. Again, she always placed others before herself, and this poem reflects that aspect of her life more than words can ever recount.

 

I said a prayer for you today
And know that God must have heard
I felt the answer in my heart
Although he spoke no word
I didn't ask for wealth and fame
(I knew you wouldn't mind)
I asked him to send treasures
Of a far more lasting kind.

I asked that He'd be near you
At the start of each new day
To grant you health and blessings
And friends to share your way
I asked for happiness for you
In all things great and small
But it was for His loving care
I prayed for most of all.

 

Mom was buried beside her husband at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Greensboro on Saturday, November 28, 1998. In her casket, she took with her the following message from Anne, Joe, and Linda. We will never forget her. We will love her forever.

 

The spare wording of an obituary does nothing to describe you, the beautiful woman who was our Mother. We, your children, have special memories of who you were and what you meant to us. We know the sacrifices that you made so that we would have what we wanted and needed. We will always be grateful to you for loving us so much.

Mom, you had no equal as a parent, a grandmother, a friend, confidante, and companion. You have been our teacher, our strength and our advocate. You held us up the many times we would have fallen. Like the many grieving friends that you leave behind you, we will never forget you. You truly lived out your faith through your devotion to us and your kindness to everyone you met. You gave of yourself to everyone you knew, and not only to us, your children.

You drew your energy from being with others and doing for them. Everyone who met you became your friend within minutes. You loved to laugh and to make others laugh. You lived to make others feel at ease. Your trips to the beach and to Atlanta, looking aft er your grandchildren, and holding your great grandchildren, having a drink with dear friends, baking chocolate chip cookies for the children, reading books—all of these things gave you joy.

We truly feel that the moment you died, God came and took back an angel. Now that you are in eternity with others we love, we can only pray that God will hold you to his breast until we can be together. Until that day, we will love you and honor you and will cherish our happy memories of you.

Godspeed, Mother, until we meet again.