The chapel had people on the front row and the back rows and scattered all between on the Monday morning of Mrs. Kate’s funeral. It was a surprising sight to see this large of a crowd on a workday morning at a funeral of a woman who had no children and outlived all her peers. Most who die at the age of 98 without children, grandchildren, etc., do not have such a lovely gathering of those who offer honor to their memory. Not only were they gathered, but their love for this lovely lady was beautifully expressed by their presence and memories shared.
Kate Searcy Bland was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee. She grew up playing basketball in high school for the Eagles. As a young woman she played on a women’s league with DuPont.
It was with DuPont that she met Ed Bland who was from Wilson County. They married and lived on a farm on Logue Road. She loved to grow beautiful flowers and share them all around. John Begarly posted on her online obituary guestbook that he remembered “Miss. Kate from childhood at Center Chapel. She grew the most beautiful flowers; from the spring until right on up to winter, she grew and shared those flowers with us at church almost every Sunday. It was the daffodils I remember most, though…. She was a great lady.” Her many years on the farm produced many beautiful flowers which she painstakingly grew. Years later she sold the farm, which was developed into Pine Creek Golf Course, and moved to Clearview Estates. She kept a beautiful home that was filled with lovely antiques. Late in her life she decided that it would be best for her care if she moved to The Meadows in Belleview. She knew she would be closer to receive help from her niece Linda Dreaden. Even then, she still valued her independence. She would drive from West Nashville to Mt Juliet once a week to her hair stylist and to visit her friends. She was in her 90’s at this time and continued to drive herself across Nashville to Mt. Juliet.
Mrs. Kate always loved sports. She played as a young person and young adult. Even as late as 96 years of age she still attended ballgames. She loved Vanderbilt athletics. She even traveled with the Commodores to Hawaii. There have been write-ups in the paper about her loyalty and support as a fan. A little more than a decade ago the Houston Oilers moved to Nashville to become the Tennessee Titans. Mrs. Kate bought season tickets at 85 years of age! And even later would go to Atlanta to watch them play in the Super Bowl.
She was a great lady who always enjoyed her independence. She dressed in a bright, colorful fashion. She conducted herself with dignity in a prim and proper way. One of her close friends, Jo Ann Garrett, described her as the epitome of a perfect lady. At the same time she was feisty, and always displayed a great love for life.
Most of all, she loved the Lord and His church. Anyone that traveled with her, knew where she would be on Sunday. She never held back her love and loyalty for God. She loved the church at MJ and said as she moved to The Meadows, that she guessed she would have to worship on that side of town (Bellevue church of Christ is where she worshiped), yet she would always consider MJ congregation her home. We are thankful for Mrs. Kate and for her love and faithful devotion to God. We are thankful for her reward. This competitor won where it mattered the most!