Judge Blease was a Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court 1931-1934, and a former mayor of Newberry.
Funeral Saturday for Former Chief Justice
A blanket of flowers, sent by friends, associates and admirers from his community and state, marks the final resting place of Eugene Satterwhite Blease, who died Friday morning at Newberry County Memorial hospital at the age of 86. He would have been 87 years of age on January 28, 1964.
Judge Blease had been in ill health for a number of years, but with the exception of short intervals, he went to his law office daily until three weeks before his death. He was taken to the hospital on Sunday, December 22.
Judge Blease was a native of Newberry County, attended Newberry College and was a teacher. After reading law, he was admitted to the bar of South Carolina in 1898 and practiced law for more than 65 years. He was elected an associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court in 1926 and was elevated to the position of Chief Justice in 1931. He had the distinction of being the only Chief Justice to serve the highest court of his state who had not graduated from law school. He retired from the bench in 1934 because of his health.
After being admitted to the bar Judge Blease practiced law in Saluda and was a member of the State House of Representatives from Saluda county in 1901 and 1902. He was the county's State Senator in 1905 and 1906. After moving to Newberry, he served this county in the House from 1922 until 1924. Prior to that, in 1920 and 1921, he served as mayor of Newberry. His service to the city was recognized and remembered as the bell of the town clock tolled during funeral services for him Saturday afternoon.
For many years, Judge Blease was associated in law practice with Steve C. Griffith, Sr. until Judge Griffith was elected to the circuit court. For the past few years, Judge Griffith's sons, Steve C., Jr. and Eugene C. Griffith, have been associated with him in the practice of law in the firm of Blease and Griffith.
In his only venture into state-wide politics as a candidate, Judge Blease came so close to winning election as U.S. Senator in 1942 that some news reports declared him the winner in a nip-and-tuck contest with the late Burnet R. Maybank. The final official count gave Maybank the victory by a margin of 6000 voted out of 235,000 cast.
Judge Blease played a leading role in the fight of the State's Rights Democrats to elect then Governor Strom Thurmond president in 1948 and was a presidential elector on the Thurmond ticket which carried South Carolina.
He was highly critical of the U. S. Supreme Court's school desegregation decision in 1954. The following year, he was among the "Committee of 52" prominent South Carolinians who made a public declaration of their intention to support "the principles of constitutional government, racial integrity and State sovereignty." Even though he was a staunch believer in racial segregation, a number of Negroes were among the sorrowful mourners at his funeral, one even having come from Columbia to attend the last rites.
Judge Blease was the son of the late Henry Horatio and Elizabeth Satterwhite Blease, and was a member of Central Methodist Church.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Urbana Neel Blease; a grandson, Jack Blease Workman, a retired Air Force Lt. Col., now of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and a great-granddaughter, Miss Carol Blease Workman of St. Petersburg. Fla.
Last rites were conducted at his home on Boundary Street Saturday afternoon at 3:30, attended by several hundred friends and former associates. Services were conducted by this pastor, Rev. T. H. Vickery of Central Methodist Church; and Rev. J. Anderson Bass, pastor of the First Baptist Church. The eulogy was delivered by a close friend, Dr. James C. Kinard, former president of Newberry College. Interment was in Rosemont Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Eugene Sligh Blease, John G. Ross, Circuit Judge Steve C. Griffith, Sr., Steve C. Griffith Jr., Eugene C. Griffith, Richard L. Baker and Dr. Sydney Carter.
Many dignitaries attend the funeral. They included Associated Justice Joseph R. Moss and James M. Brailsford of the State Supreme Court and the court's clerk, Miss Frances Smith; Circuit Judges Louis Rosen, Julius B. Ness, James Hugh McFadden and George T. Gregory Jr., U. S. Senator Strom Thurmond and U. S. Rep. and Mrs. W. J. Bryan Dorn...contributed Kenneth R. Harmon
Gravesite Details Grave site located in Section B2
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