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

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 (1) a graduating senior at one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk, or a senior in an accredited home school program conducted in Suffolk, OR (2) A former graduate of one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk or a former senior in an accredited home school program conducted in Suffolk who is then currently enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university in the United States.

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.

Scholarship application, deadline, and Submission Instructions

You can fill out an application online here beginning February 1.  For any further information, contact Mr. Win Winslow, Executive Director of the Suffolk Foundation, by either emailing him at wwinslow@suffolkfoundation.org or by calling (757) 923–9090.  The application must be submitted on or before 12 noon (Eastern Daylight Time) on the last business day of March.  Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.


2021 Awardees

Chaitanya Barot, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Chaitanya Barot

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
Christiana Green, Lakeland High School

Christiana Green

Lakeland High School

2020 Awardees

De'Ryan Artis

Lakeland High School

Jacob Johan Conrod

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Kayla Lauver

Nansemond River High School

2019 Awardees

Jason Hayes-Keller

Nansemond River High School

Audrey Davis

King’s Fork High School

2018 Awardees

Madellyn Carr

Lakeland High School

Malachi Middleton

Nansemond River High School

2017 Awardee

Myra Bailey

Lakeland High School

2016 Awardee

Paula Steward

Lakeland High School