Betty Jefferson Blaisdell, 80, of Fredericksburg, ended her earthly journey on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.
Mrs. Blaisdell was the daughter of Elliott Emmet Jefferson and Virginia Powell Jefferson Harper. She was a graduate of James Monroe High School. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Mary Washington and M.Ed from the University of Florida. After a thirty three year career as a teacher and an administrator, she retired from Fairfax County Public Schools as coordinator of Secondary English Language Arts.
Mrs. Blaisdell taught students at every grade, from kindergarten to graduate level. She taught at the University of Florida as a model teacher for graduate students, and taught public school teachers in graduate courses at George Mason University. She served as an adjunct professor supervising student teachers at the University of Mary Washington.
In her professional career, she served as president of the English Teachers Association of Northern Virginia and of the Virginia Association of Teachers of English. She initiated and co-directed with George Mason University the Northern Virginia Writing Project of the National Writing Project. She served as judge of grant proposals for the National Endowment for the Humanities and for the national essay contest for the United States Information Agency. She was a speaker and program presenter for numerous national organizations and author of national publications including a booklet for the U.S. Department of Education. She served as a consultant to the National Education Association (NEA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Virginia Association of Teachers of English (VATE). She also served as a consultant to professors at Auburn University and Pembroke University, and as a consultant to a WETA program on children’s literature which won an Emmy award. Mrs. Blaisdell also served as the first public school chairman of the Evaluation Board of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, evaluating programs at universities throughout the United States. Always a teacher, she taught at-risk children for the past eleven years in an after-school program and served on the Board of Directors of Olde Forge Junction/Stafford Junction.
Mrs. Blaisdell was noted for her tireless volunteerism and service in the Fredericksburg area, and was named Woman of the Year in 2009 by the Woman’s Club of Fredericksburg, and was a past president of the organization. She was a lifetime member, and former chaplain, of the Salvation Army Woman’s Auxiliary. Her interest in history led to her service as lifetime member and past president of the Stafford Historical Society and past membership chairman of Preservation Virginia. She initiated the Mary Washington ElderStudy program for adult learners and served as board member. She also initiated the Festival of Trees program in Fredericksburg and was an active member of Women in the Giving Spirit (WINGS) and an active member of the Philanthropic Education Organization (PEO).
Mrs. Blaisdell has been a faithful member and life deacon of Fredericksburg Baptist Church, where she has served as Sunday school director and as a member of the Sanctuary Choir. She put God and family first in everything she did. Known for her smile and love for others, she brought joy into the lives of everyone she met. She often commented on how grateful she was to have such a loving family, so many caring friends, and a truly supportive church family. She exemplified her Christian faith in every aspect of her life.
Mrs. Blaisdell is survived by her loving husband of 59 years, Clarence Preston Blaisdell; a devoted son, Steve Preston Blaisdell and his wife Patty; a devoted daughter, Beverly Blaisdell and her husband Paul Messplay, Jr; and six grandchildren: Elaine, Bethany and Grant Blaisdell, and Paul, Daniel and Katie Messplay.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, Nov. 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5, at Fredericksburg Baptist Church with the
Rev. J. Larry Haun and the Rev. Patti English officiating. A reception will follow in the church Fellowship Hall.
Interment will be private at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorial expressions of sympathy may be made to the Fredericksburg Baptist Church Youth Ministry 1019 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401 or to Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) P.O. Box 179, Fredericksburg, VA 22404.