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Bulloch History by Roger Allen

Lila Blitch: Boro’s Angel of Mercy

    Lila Blitch was born out in the wilds of the Western Territory, specifically somewhere near Phoenix, on September 1, 1900. Her parents (mother Marie Elise Edwards and father James Daniel Blitch) were members of the Statesboro First Baptist Church (FBC).
    No matter where they were, she was brought up in a Christian home, spending much of her young life at religious gatherings in the Arizona and New Mexico Territories. She had several siblings, including brothers Paul (who died just after birth), James Daniel Jr. (named after their father), Henry Smets, and Frederick Ganahl and her one sister Mary A.
    While she started school in New Mexico Territory, she returned home to Statesboro, where she stayed with her uncle, John Gordon Blitch, and finished up her schooling and attended FBC. All of James’ children had been given a sizeable parcels of land outside of Statesboro upon which it was hoped they would settle.
    When she was about 8 years old, she attended a revival at the FBC which featured Mercer University President William Heard Kilpatrick. Here she announced to all she was ready to give her life to Christ. Therefore, she was baptized at the FBC. Lila never married, but was very close to the children of her siblings.
    She then left Statesboro for Forsyth, Georgia, where she attended Bessie Tift Prep School, and then the newly renamed Forsyth Female Collegiate Institute (now Bessie Tift College) for her freshman year. In 1922, she transferred to the newly renamed Valley Union Seminary (now Hollins College) in Roanoke, Virginia.
    Considered by most to be the finest institutes of higher education for women in the country, she went on to major in Religious Studies. She returned home in the mid-1920’s, where she took up her post at FBC as the superintendent of Primary Department of the Sunday School program at FBC.
    Over the several years, she left Statesboro temporarily to teach in schools in Claxton and Quitman, until she was named the national inspector for the Kappa Delta Sorority. In this post she traveled extensively, but always returned to Statesboro.
    While attending the University of Maryland, where she got her Master’s Degree, she also served as Kappa Delta House Mother. After graduating, she was hired by Georgia State College For Women in Milledgeville to teach in the Laboratory School. She also taught Spanish and Latin at the school when the need arose.
    Eventually, she moved to Atlanta where she assumed a new post, this time with the American Red Cross, with whom she worked for the next 23 years. She attended the Atlanta First Baptist Church at this time, eventually becoming Superintendent of their Extension Department, helping newly-arrived Cuban refugees settle in the area.
    She eventually returned to her real home in Statesboro, where, not surprisingly, she helped the FBC establish an Extension Department, although she always called herself just a “visitor.” When she was called home by the Lord on June 27, 1997, she had spent nearly 90 years of her life doing his work, a truly remarkable feat by anyone’s standards.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger dodger53@hotmail.com

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