God gave us Blake on April 9, 1997. Lauren who was four, now had a little brother. She called him “peanut” because “he’s so small”. Robert who was six, loved being a big brother and called him “Blake” because… “that’s his name”
.As he grew towards kindergarten Blake’s sweet personality and God given traits began to blossom. He loved to snuggle and read stories. He also loved puzzles, drawing mazes, playing school with Lauren and starring in Robert’s videos. His fun and playful spirit was evident to all.
Blake followed his big brother and sister to school at Trinity School, where his shy, yet precocious demeanor won over kids and teachers alike. He loved going to school every day and seeing his friends. His favorite days were when his dad taught PE class. Many nights before bed he would ask, “Do I have PE tomorrow?”.
Growing up in a baseball family, Blake loved playing ball with his father and brother. He was a faithful, much-loved bat boy for many of their teams and played for Woodcroft and South Durham Little League. When he wasn’t playing baseball, he was making up his own games, playing outside, and making mazes. For the 100th day of school celebration when he was in 2nd grade he presented 100 complex mazes he had drawn himself.
When Blake was eight he gave his life to Christ, and for the rest of his life he had affection for Christ and an interest in growing closer to God . His faith was evident in the way he lived and treated others. For Blake, life was never about him.
At age ten, Blake went to a tennis clinic, mostly because his mom had started to play and wanted a partner. Much to everyone’s surprise he fell in love with the game and his affection for tennis soon surpassed baseball. Blake was little, but he was naturally good at tennis. He began to play in USTA tournaments at age 11 and played on the Trinity varsity team in 7th grade. Often underestimated by his opponents because of his small stature and sheepish grin, he quickly gained respect, usually bringing much older and stronger opponents down in frustrating defeat. He placed in numerous USTA tournaments for 12, 14, and 16 age divisions. Though Blake was incredibly good at tennis, his approach to it was totally Blake-like. It was how he did life: he never seemed hurried or flustered, and in simple joy he immersed himself in the fun of the moment.
Blake was dearly loved by his classmates at Trinity. He was kind to everyone, and loved and respected by the entire class. His playful streak brightened up every day. He loved playing on the Trinity tennis team, not just for tennis but because it enabled him to play for his school and with his buddies on the team. Another great love of his was attending the Summit church to learn more about Christ. In a school essay he actually tied his love for tennis and Christ together;
“I became a Christian . . . when I was 8 years old. At the time, I didn’t realize how big this decision was. This was the same way with me walking on the court for the first time and trying something unknown, which would soon become a big part of my life.”
In the fall of 2011 Blake began high school at Trinity. He quickly outgrew shoes and shot up in height, and loved tennis more than ever. A couple of weeks before he died Blake spent three weeks with his parents in Florida at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Boca Raton. This was a great family time. Blake will oft-be-remembered with a Babolat tennis racket in his hand, a white tennis cap on his head, and an infectious smile on his face.
Blake deeply touched so many around him. He never asked for things for himself and was happily content with whatever he had. His teenage playful self created wild ping-pong games and beat virtually everyone. Robert loved the challenge when he was home from college. Lauren didn’t even try. She would rather take him out for ice cream.
On January 28, 2012 Blake climbed an electrical tower with some friends to see how far their paper airplanes would fly. This playful adventure ended tragically, and Blake left this world where so many loved and cherished him to be with Someone who loved and cherished him even more. On the Tuesday after his death 1300 friends and family gathered from across the nation to remember Blake. Dr. Chip Denton, the headmaster at Trinity School, honored Blake with this tribute at the service.
Blake lived his life to the fullest, honoring people and the Lord wherever he journeyed. He will always be deeply loved and greatly missed, and none of us who knew him will ever be the same without him.
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