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BC Dedicates Cenutry-old Quilt

While the hand-made quilt was a necessary commodity for warmth in every remote house in Appalachia in the early 1900s, it also served a decorative piece or an expression of love or remembrance of a person, time or place.

Chris Shoemaker

April 25, 2012

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President David Olive (left) and Vice President Ruth Blankenship (right) share remarks during a dedication ceremony for a century-old Easley family quilt (background) donated to the school in 1968.

 

 

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Members of the Easley family pose in front of the century-old quilt they donated to Bluefield College that will now hand in Easley Library.

 

Bluefield College dedicated a century-old Appalachian quilt during a ceremony on campus, Friday, April 20, that will hang as a decorative piece inside Easley Library and serve as an expression of love and remembrance of the late Eva Vest Easley, who donated the family throw to BC some 44 years ago.

 

Crafted in 1900 by Manerva Boyd Pack Easley, mother to Frank Smoot Easley, one of the founding fathers of Bluefield College, the quilt was a mainstay in the Easley family until 1968. At that time, Eva, one of many in the family who continued to support the college, donated the piece to the school.

 

“This quilt was made as an expression of love by Manerva for her son, Frank, and it was given to Bluefield College as an expression of love by Eva,” said BC’s Ruth Blankenship, vice president for advancement. “And today, all of you are here as an expression of your love for Eva to help us dedicate the quilt in her memory.”

 

More than 50 friends and family members, from as far as North and South Carolina and as near as Bluefield, attended the dedication ceremony, which included a prayer of dedication by Rev. Michael E. Snider of Christ Episcopal Church and remarks by Blankenship and BC President David Olive.

 

“We’re so thankful to those of you who have come to join us. This is a great day to see friends of Bluefield College celebrating the Easley legacy,” said Dr. Olive. “This college would not be the same without the Easley family and without Eva Easley.”

 

Since its founding in 1922, members of the Easley family have played significant roles in the development and growth of Bluefield College. In fact, a member of the Easley family has served on the school’s Board of Trustees since its formation, including Eva’s husband, trustee emeritus Tyler Easley, and their daughter, Becky Easley Beckett, who serves as a trustee today.

 

Before her death in August 2008, Eva had been a longtime member of the Board, where she served on a variety of committees to further campus facility improvements, fundraising, and student development. Her love for BC students was most evident in her contributions to the areas of athletics, fine arts, scholarships, and the missionary-in-residence program. As a result of her faithful service to the college, she was named an honorary alumna in 1988. She also received the school’s Mildred Sullivan Award for service to the community in 1995.

 

“Eva was an amazing lady,” said Blankenship. “She impacted so many lives and has been referred to as the ‘hostess with the mostest’ for the ways in which she entertained a parade of Baptist ministers, missionaries, and denominational leaders who visited Bluefield and Bluefield College.”

 

Using gifts to BC in memory of Eva, the college constructed a display case to preserve and permanently exhibit the quilt inside Easley Library. The throw, said Beckett, who spoke on behalf of the family during the dedication ceremony, had survived more than a century “because of the strength of the Appalachian woman who created it.” It will continue to survive, she added, and serve as a reminder of the legacy of love and support of the Easley family.

 

The quilt dedication was just one of many activities in Bluefield College’s yearlong “Celebration of Appalachia” symposium, featuring lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, tours and other educational and entertaining events designed to honor the Appalachian heritage.

 

 

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