Carolyn Blount's Legacy Includes Her Longtime Church Home

The people who know Carolyn and Red Blount's legacy only from news stories probably know how many causes they supported. But it may surprise you to learn there were even more they never took credit for.

One of them was Carolyn Blount's church home for 50 years.

It was August 8th, 1954 when an Auburn Beauty named Carolyn came to 1st United Methodist Church. Pastor Karl Stegall didn't meet her until 1983, but by then, it was a familiar place.

"Most of the time, when they were physically capable of coming to church by themselves, they would sit here in this particular pew," Stegall said.

Pastor Stegall says it's clear that Carolyn Blount's life was defined by philanthropy and her relationship with her husband. But she was also an independent thinker for herself.

"I saw many specific situations where she'd greatly encourage Red to donate money or to be very generous to particular projects," he said.

And, he says, it was in this place Carolyn Blount found some of her best work, quietly supporting causes others might have turned away from.

"They were mentally retarded children as we would refer to them at that particular time," he explained,  "and she couldn't give enough in support of those special children when they sang here."

Then, in later years, she lost the love of her life and Stegall says that took its toll. When Carolyn Blount's health took a turn for the worst she spent a lot of time in North Carolina. But she never forgot her church home and her pastor.

"Her son, Dr. Ed Varner, asked me if I would, as he placed the phone to her ear the day that she died, if I would read to her the 23rd Psalm and offer a prayer and I did because she mentioned several times that was her favorite passage of scripture. When I think of them again, I think of it as more than just giving money. They were generous is sprit. They were loving, caring people," Stegall said.

To just about no one's surprise, all of the services marking Carolyn Blount's legacy will be open to the public. But they will feel very intimate. The family plans to hold them in the small chapel on the grounds near the Shakespeare Festival. The small building has only about 20 seats, so most people will have to listen outside.

The family will hold an open visitation at the chapel friday night between five and seven p.m. The funeral service for Carolyn Blount is now scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the same location.