Mary Audrey Wilson
August 22, 1932 – November 15, 2020
Mary Audrey Whitehurst Wilson, whose gracious spirit and generous heart endeared her to many, died peacefully at home on November 14, 2020.
Born in Brooksville on August 22, 1932, she was the oldest of three children of the late Onan and Audrey Whitehurst. She graduated from Florida State University in 1954 where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi societies and Alpha Delta Pi Sorority.
After her marriage to William C. Blake Jr. that same year, she moved to Tampa, where she became active in community affairs while raising their five active children. Her volunteer work was wide-ranging. She was a board member and Sustainer President of the Junior League of Tampa, as well as the League’s Chairman of Public Affairs for the state of Florida. She enthusiastically maintained many relationships at the University of South Florida, where she was a founding member and president of Town and Gown, a board member of the USF Foundation, the Medical Center Development Council, and president of Research Council in Psychiatry.
As a Realtor with Smith & Associates, she served in leadership positions with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Committee of 100, the City of Tampa’s Budget Advisory Committee, community advisory boards for Sun Bank Tampa and GTE. A lifelong music lover, she was especially happy to serve on the board of the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony, now known as the Florida Orchestra. She was a 50 year member of the Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and a devoted participant in the Altar Guild at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Mary Audrey loved poetry, contemporary art, history, opera, and doing things with a circle of friends she had known for decades. Her curiosity and sense of adventure were exuberant--exploring the tide pools along the bay with her grandchildren, jumping out of an airplane to mark her 80th birthday. In 1987 she married Joseph Richard Hoyle Wilson, who died in 2011. Also predeceasing her were her parents; her brother Dr. John O. Whitehurst of Atlanta; and her son John B. Blake. She is survived by her children: Betsy Blake Arizu (Peter), Dr. William Campbell Blake III (Laura), Dr. George B. Blake, and Lynda Blake White (Ganon). Other survivors include her brother George Whitehurst of Brooksville, and nine grandchildren: Jennifer and Jessica Arizu; Richard, Audrey, Stella and William Blake; Blake, Pierce and Grant White. There will be a private family service at St. John’s Episcopal Church on November 23. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Metropolitan Ministries, St. John’s Episcopal Church or a charity of your choice.