Ossie S. & Thomas F. Blair, Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Purpose

The purpose of the Ossie S. & Thomas F. Blair, Jr. Blair Memorial Scholarship is to provide an annual award to one of the scholarship applicants. The annual award will be given for the sole purpose of paying college expenses.  For further information: http://theblairscholarship.com.

About the Blairs

Thomas Francis Blair, Jr. was born on July 20, 1903 to Thomas Francis Blair (born August 31, 1865) and Catherine Collins Blair (born July 30, 1873). He was the 7th child of 12 children. His father and grandfather William Robert Blair (born about 1828 in Ireland and immigrated to the United States sometime before 1854) built railroads from northern Michigan, through what was, at that time, still called Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). His grandfather started out as a laborer building railroads but formed his own railroad construction company during the railroad boom. They continued south to Texas where Tom was born in Amarillo. His grandfather died in approximately 1902 and was buried in Indian Territory.

After his grandfather's death, Tom's father and grandmother, Elizabeth Moore (born in Ireland about 1837) completed, according to some Blair family members, a construction contract building a railroad associated with the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. They then headed eastward until his father decided they had moved enough and built enough railroads. They built their last tracks in eastern North Carolina. They put down roots and , given the advent of the automobile, started building roads in Granville County, NC. Tom, Jr. 's father needed him to help run a construction crew - thus his entry into the road construction business.

Ossie Pearl Southern was born on November 9, 1906 in Lynchburg, VA to Cornelius Osborne Southern and Mary Mitchell Southern. Mary died very early in Ossie's life, perhaps in 1908. Cornelius then married Mary Etta Nelson. Ossie was destined to be an only child.

Tom and Ossie met when Tom's father was building a road in North Carolina and Ossie's mother was in charge of the cooks and her father was in charge of the horses and mules for Tom's father's construction company. Because religion was of great importance in their lives, with Tom being Catholic and Ossie being Baptist, concessions had to be made before their eventual marriage. They were wed in Hendersonville, NC on April 18, 1922. The young couple started their family on September 12, 1923. Over the following years, their family grew to number 13 children with the last one being born on December 14, 1950.

Tom and Ossie moved to Suffolk, VA in 1932. As much as they loved and cared for their children, there was another tremendous compulsion — education! While they were both very intelligent, Tom having created his own form of calculus to use in his construction business, and Ossie having learned a good bit of Spanish, French, Latin, History, Math, etc., from helping their children with their school work, they had an urgency for their children to receive a formal education. First came George Mason, then Thomas Jefferson, and finally Suffolk High School. As busy as Tom and Ossie were, they always had time to help every one of their children with their studies.

The Ossie S. & Thomas F. Blair, Jr. Memorial Scholarship has been established by some of their loving and forever-thankful children to honor them. What better way to do that than by having a scholarship in their names to give worthy individuals a helping hand towards their higher education.

Award Criteria

To be eligible to receive the Ossie S. & Thomas F. Blair, Jr. Blair Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • Have financial need
  • Have participated in religious, community or civic activities or in youth and/or school programs
  • Exhibit and be of strong moral character
  • Each scholarship applicant must also be, at the time of the award, a current resident of the City of Suffolk and either:
  • A graduating senior at one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk, OR....
  • A former graduate of one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk who is then currently enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university in the United States
    • PREVIOUS AWARDEES

      2017 – Myra Bailey, Lakeland High School

      2016 - Paula Steward, Lakeland High School

      SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION, DEADLINE, AND SUBMISSION INSTRUCTION

      Scholarship applications will be available at all public and private high schools in the City of Suffolk no later than February 1 of each year. Anyone currently enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university in the United States may request an application directly from the Suffolk Foundation. Once the application has been completed the application may be electronically or physically delivered to the Suffolk Foundation but must be received no later than the last business day of March. Applications received after 12 noon on the last work day of March will not be considered.

      ELECTRONIC SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION INSTRUCTION:

      You can download the Ossie-&-Thomas-F-Blair-Jr-Scholarship-Application here or request an application by sending an email to wwinslow@suffolkfoundation.org, or call (757)923-9090 to have an application mailed to you.
      U.S. Post Mail Address for Application Submission:

      Suffolk Foundation
      106 West Finney Avenue
      Suffolk, VA 23434