Cover photo for Willa Mae Blake's Obituary
Willa Mae Blake Profile Photo

Willa Mae Blake

Born Willa Mae Martin on December 24, 1941, in Jackson, Mississippi, Willa was the second daughter of the late Thomas and Berthia Martin. Willa Mae was named after her father’s brother, her Uncle Willie Martin. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and graduated from East High School in 1959. After graduation, she worked in local retail and was active in Civil Rights organizations, including the Columbus chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

In October 1964, she married Richard S. Blake, a United States Air Force member. From this union, they had two sons and one daughter. Willa Mae later became the legal guardian of her first grandchild and raised him. As a homemaker and loving mother, she was always active in her children’s activities. She served as a Cub Scout den mother, PTA member, and many civic organizations, particularly as an advocate for public housing. Willa was a strong believer in education, enjoying new experiences and learning. At one time, she sought to earn a degree in childhood development. Willa Mae loved children and always encouraged them and her own children and grandchildren to strive to better themselves and improve their educational and professional status.

Willa Mae faithfully attended church throughout her life and was a member of Temple of Faith Church of God in Christ in Columbus. She enjoyed her weekly trip to Walmart and talking to each store associate as if they were a long-lost relative. She was a loving and generous woman and will be greatly missed by her family, friends, relatives, and all who knew her.

On Sunday, June 25, 2023, Willa Mae departed this life after a brief illness. She was preceded in death by her older Sister, Tommye McGill; and her younger sister, Florene Ridley. She leaves to cherish her memory: sons Richard A. Blake and Christopher S. Blake; daughter Kasaundra L. Blake; grandchildren Dejuan, Rakeisha, Shaquez, and Andre; great-grandchildren, Semaj, Serai, Selia, Sire, Malakhi, and Amari; her brother and sister-in-law, Curtis and Denise Martin; and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends.

Visitation 1:00 PM and Service 2:00 PM Wednesday, July 5, 2023 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE NORTH, 2500 Cleveland Ave. Interment at Eastlawn Cemetery. To stream the service, order flowers, and offer condolences to The BLAKE Family, visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Willa Mae Blake, please visit our flower store.


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