Robert Whitfield Blake of Petersburg, best known as "Whit", died Aug. 2, 2012. He was born in Richmond, the son of George Robert Blake Jr. and Jacqueline Meadows Blake. He is survived by his parents and by his brother, Brandon Scott Blake, with whom he was very close. Other survivors include his aunts, Susan Blake Post Walker, Mary LaFalce Blake, (widow of his uncle, J. Peter Blake who predeceased him) and Eileen Meadows Watkins, Margie Meadows Ezell, Sharon Meadows Klug, Bonnie Meadows Pottgen, Claudia Meadows Hughey; and uncle, Thomas Coburn Meadows.

Whit was a graduate of St Vincent dePaul High School in Petersburg, and studied engineering at Virginia Tech, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. He became deeply interested in the Bible which he enjoyed discussing and studied every night. He was quite athletic and received many kudos for swimming, soccer, baseball and rock-climbing, but his particular love was tennis, at which he was very accomplished. For a while, he instructed grade-schoolers in the rudiments of the game and he had a way of being both patient and encouraging with the little ones. Whit was well-travelled for his age – loved our several trips to Canadian destinations, and at age 15, made a solo trip to Bosnia to visit the family of a young Bosnian man, Almir Sprecic, who had lived with our family for several years.

Even before this was written, his Facebook page was being filled with numerous messages of heartfelt condolences from his many good friends, classmates and teachers. He will be sorely missed for his intelligence, sense of humor, thoughtfulness and for being a true friend. His battle with depression is ended. His was a faithful Christian soul who has finally found the peace that eluded him in this life.

Whit is resting at J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home in Petersburg. A service celebrating his life will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Petersburg with a reception following at St. Paul's Church, Bristol Parish Hall, 110 North Union St., Petersburg. Contributions may be made to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 110 North Union St., Petersburg, VA 23803, or to Freedom From Fear, 308 Seaview Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305.

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Published in The Progress-Index on Aug. 9, 2012