After winter and spring, then comes summer… A 90th birthday celebration for Carrie Janice Blakey Thomas was held on Sunday, July 10, 2011. Carrie turned 90 on December 30, 2010 but due to Jack Frost and his winter friends, the party was scheduled for a summer celebration.
The celebration was held at Saint James A.M.E. Church, Saint Paul, and it was well attended. Family and friends came from near and far. A special thanks to the out-of-town guests: Evangelist Kathleen Church of Etowah, Tennessee; Fred Blakey of Chicago; Coshawn, Maya, Jamila and Imani Jenkins of Bolingbrook, Illinois; Charles and Frances Holmes of Kansas City, Kansas; Robert and Angie Kuschenman of Yankton, South Dakota; and Elijah McIntosh of Jacksonville, Florida.
Carrie’s two remaining siblings, Daniel Blakey (98 years old) and Zackerious Blakey (84 years old), accompanied her into the celebration along with her grandson Dant’e Dean of Rosemount, Minnesota, and niece Carol Blakey of Apple Valley, Minnesota.
The celebration was three hours of reminiscing, sharing wonderful memories and acknowledgments of Carrie’s life. She received birthday greetings from Reverend Joseph B. Baring, Jr., pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church; Mayor Christopher B. Coleman of St. Paul; Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota; and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Carrie’s rich heritage stems from a historical background. In 1904, a gentleman named Christopher Yancey made a trip through Missouri urging members of his race to come to South Dakota, the land of freedom and opportunity. Two young men, Henry and Isaac Blakey, promised him that they would come to South Dakota, and on October 16, 1905, they arrived in a covered wagon with their families and found employment.
Carrie Blakey was the 10th child out of 15 born in Yankton, South Dakota on December 30, 1920 on a Thursday to Maggie and Isaac Blakey.
Carrie married Leon Thomas on November 12, 1940 and to this union, three daughters were born — Norma (Pinky) Thomas Hancock, Betty Joyce Dean and Colleen (Katie) Thomas Matlon. Leon and Joyce have since gone home to be with the Lord.
Carrie has been a faithful member of St. James A.M.E. Church for over 50 years. She is an emeritus and has participated in many church organizations. She worked for Ancker Hospital (which is known today as Regions Hospital) in St. Paul for over 30 years. She has nine grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.
Carrie would like to acknowledge the following: the celebration coordinator was Barbara Blakley of Maplewood, Minnesota; the caterers were Janice Smith of Lynwood, California and Roberta Espy of St. Paul; the master of ceremonies and presenter was Jerry Blakey (nephew) of St. Paul and mistress of ceremonies was Norma (Pinky) Thomas Hancock (daughter) of San Pedro, California. Other presenters were Daymond Dean (grandson) of Mendota Heights, Minnesota and Colleen Thomas Matlon (daughter) of Saint Paul.
Entertainment and music was provided by Lee Roy Hawkins (nephew) of Maplewood, Minnesota, with a violin selection by Akilah Blakey and vocalist Jamaela Pettiford (great nieces) of Saint Paul and the Lewis Sisters of St. Paul.
Carrie enjoys dining out, family gatherings, attending church, and she is an active member of The Urban Partnership and Community Development Center (UPCDC). She is loved by all with her funny sense of humor and quick wit. Carrie is so grateful and wonderfully blessed: “To God Be the Glory!”
This article was provided by the family of Carrie Janice Blakey Thomas.