Mary Lee Blankenship

Obituary of Mary Lee Gardner Blankenship

Alpine, AL. – Mary Lee Gardner Blankenship, 88, passed away July 26, 2021, at her home in Alpine. She was the wife of Van Blankenship for almost 68 years. Her funeral service will be 2:30 p.m., Sunday, August 1, at First Presbyterian Church in Talladega with the church’s pastor, Leeann Scarbrough officiating. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. A visitation will be held beginning at 1:30, prior to the service, also at the church building. Mrs. Blankenship was born in Auburn, AL, to Harmon Austin Gardner, Sr., and Helen Wise Gardner on June 6, 1933. After her mother’s early death, she gained a second mother at the age of eleven, when her father married Sarah Tomlinson. Mary Lee graduated from Shades Valley High School and attended Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo) for two years. Mary Lee and Van together operated Van Blankenship Photography in Talladega for many years, through which they helped mark the milestones of many families. She was devoted to her husband and family. She was a woman of deep faith who served others in numerous ways, often quietly. She also served as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church. She was active in Presbyterian Women and Sunday school. She was involved in professional photographers’ organizations at every level and earned her Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman through the Professional Photographers of America. One of her photographs was featured on the cover of PPA’s magazine, the first time for a woman photographer. She served as editor of the Southern Exposure magazine for the Southeastern Photographers Association, she was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Friends of the Library. Her love of growing flowers and vegetables inspired her to complete the master of gardener training. Her many interests included cheering on Auburn sports, knitting, reading voraciously, and caring for numerous pets. In addition to her husband Van, Mrs. Blankenship is survived by her children, Buren and Luanne Blankenship of Starkville, MS., Sally and Tim Smith of Talladega, Ted and Angela Blankenship of Naples, FL., and Alec and Lindsay Blankenship of Mobile, AL.; her grandchildren, Kris and Matt Williams, Will and Laura Smith, Luke Smith, Sarah Caroline, Victoria and Ben Blankenship and Abigail and Alexander Blankenship; her great-grandchildren Sarah Kaitlyn, Corbin Williams and Nora Smith, and her brother, Arthur (Tina) Gardner of Dothan, AL. Preceding her in death were her parent’s, her infant daughter, Julie, and her brother, Harmon Austin Gardner, Jr. Pallbearer’s will be Luke Smith, Will Smith, Matt Williams, Bert Gardner, Wright Gardner, and Alexander Blankenship. In lieu of flowers please make memorial donations to First Presbyterian Church, “Heifer Project”, 130 North St. East, Talladega, AL. 35160, Alzheimer’s Disease Research, or the charity of your choice. On-line condolences may be offered at www.usreyfuneralhome.com Usrey Funeral Home of Talladega will direct the service.
Sunday
1
August

Visitation

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Sunday, August 1, 2021
First Presbyterian Church of Talladega
103 North Street East
Talladega, Alabama, United States
Sunday
1
August

Funeral

2:30 pm
Sunday, August 1, 2021
First Presbyterian Church of Talladega
103 North Street East
Talladega, Alabama, United States

Interment

Oak Hill Cemetery
Spring Street
Talladega, Alabama, United States
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Mary Lee