The Rev. Paul Cornelious Bland of Prince George County, Va., was born on Sept. 22, 1946, and entered his final rest on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md. Paul was born in Richmond, Va., and was the only child of the late Honorable Samuel L. and Josephine R. Bland. He was an active member of the Loving Union Baptist Church, Disputanta, Va., where he served as assistant minister and the adult Sunday school teacher for over 20 years.
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Paul was passionate about learning, teaching and serving others. He was raised on a farm in Prince George County, Va., where he learned the value of hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit. Paul was the valedictorian of J.E.J. Moore High School, in Prince George County, Va., in 1964, where he played baseball. Upon his graduation he attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. He majored in government and dreamed of working with the civil rights movement. One of his beloved activities in college was traveling with the basketball team and keeping the team's stats. Not long after his graduation from Howard University in 1968, Paul served his country in the United States Army as a captain in the infantry. He was stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia where he met his wife, Judy.
Upon an Honorable Discharge from the military, he returned to his love of learning and received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in Boston, Mass., and a Juris Doctorate from Duke University, School of Law, in Durham, N.C. His passion for serving others led him to a career with the City of Durham as comptroller and member of the city council. He later returned to his hometown of Prince George County, Va., where he opened a successful law practice. He founded Southside Virginia Star newspaper, which gave local churches, businesses, and politicians a voice in Petersburg during the 1990s. After 30 years of practicing law, Paul retired and began a full-time teaching career. He loved helping to develop and mentor young people and was named chair of Business Management at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Va. Paul was a member of the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.
Although Paul was very accomplished professionally, he will be remembered for the humility and zeal with which he served others. He was a compassionate, thoughtful caring soul who was very dedicated to his family. He enjoyed reading the newspaper, fishing, traveling, riding his tractor, and taking care of all who were in need.
Paul is survived by his wife and best friend, Judy, of 43 years; and his two daughters, Dr. Pamela C. Bland and Stephanie Bland Harris (James Morgan Harris), all of whom he was extremely proud. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Mrs. Delzora H. Kates; stepbrother, George Macklin of Petersburg, Va., and a host of cousins especially, the Johnson family and Lillian Curley; and many good friends, especially George and Shirley Gordon.
We would like to especially thank the members of Loving Union Baptist Church for their visits, thoughts, and prayers; and the Reverend Cannon John Harmon and the Trinity Episcopal Church of Washington, D.C., for their prayers, support and visits during Paul's illness.
A funeral service for the Rev. Paul C. Bland will be held 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at the Chapel of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., the Rev. Dr. Joseph Morrison, pastor of Loving Union Baptist Church, eulogist. Interment to follow at Loving Union Baptist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be sent to Paul's home church, Loving Union Baptist Church, 16750 Loving Union Road, Disputanta, VA.
Family members and friends are invited to pay final tribute to Rev. Bland at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to the staff of J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment Inc., 102 South Ave., Petersburg, Va., 804-732-8911, www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.
Published in The Progress-Index from Jan. 2 to Jan. 4, 2013