Friends of Dr. Charles Parrish Blitch remembered him Monday as an avid lover of Bulloch County history who realized a lifelong dream of owning - and restoring - his grandfather's plantation home off Lakeview Road.
Blitch, 82, died Sunday at that home, which he purchased and restored in 1995. Achieving that goal meant a great deal to him, said lifelong friend Dr. Jack Averitt.
"When we played together as children, he would say 'some day I am going to own that house," he said.
Visitation and a memorial service for Blitch will be held Thursday in that house, the Blitch-Lane House at 8075 Lakeview Road. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., with the service beginning at 7 p.m., according to information from Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home.
The home is in what is known as the Blitch community, named for Blitch's family, said Dr. Del Presley, who was also a close friend. "He spent so much of his life and energy restoring that wonderful home. This meant a great deal to him, to come back to his roots."
Blitch "comes from one of the oldest families in Bulloch County," he said. "He grew up during the Depression and knew what it was like to go through hard times."
Blitch "was a brilliant man," said friend and fellow historian Smith Banks. "He called me Thursday and we talked about Bulloch County history and families."
Parrish Blitch, whose first name was also his mother's maiden name and that of another well-known Bulloch County family, was born in Statesboro in 1925. He graduated from Statesboro High School in 1942 and enrolled in Georgia Teacher's College (now Georgia Southern University) after serving in the Army 5th Air Force in the South Pacific Theater from 1943-1946.
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree Blitch taught at Fulton High School in Atlanta, College Park High School and Statesboro High School.
He obtained his MS. Ed degree at Emory University in 1954, taught at Georgia Teachers College, then went on to achieve his Ph. D. in economics in 1966 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He then joined the faculty of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. and later was appointed visiting professor of economics at the University of Wales, Swansea.
After retiring in 1990, Blitch returned to his home on South Zetterower Avenue in Statesboro until he purchased the family home place, circa 1880, on Lakeview Road in 1995.
Banks remembered being a student when Blitch taught at Statesboro High School . "He sponsored the Criterion, the yearbook," he said. "He was a great guy, quite interested in Bulloch County history. He was very much into going to the library and researching - he was writing the history of the Blitch family."
"Parrish was an outstanding academic leader," Presley said. "He just loved to talk to people and share stories. Parrish represented the best of Bulloch County."
"We were very close friends for 77 years," Averitt said. "I cherish t hat friendship and am very saddened by his death. He was a very creative individual, and had a fantastic interest in the development of Statesboro. He was family oriented and dedicated to his friends."
Blitch's passing "is a real loss to our community because of his knowledge," Banks said. "I'm going to miss him. It's a pity we've lost him and his knowledge."