Gloria Nassif Blythe

November 3, 2013 

Gloria Nassif Blythe was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on March 27, 1928, and died in Chapel Hill on October 27, 2013.

With her older brother David, she grew up in a family that celebrated its Scottish and Lebanese ancestry. She attended Classical High School in Springfield, and Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, where she studied chemistry.

An adventurer, she gradually made her way south, traveling and working first in Boston, then New Haven, and finally in Chapel Hill, where she helped Dr. Louis Welt set up a clinical and research lab. She ate her first proper Southern breakfast at the Carolina Inn, and took an immediate liking to a heretofore foreign substance called grits. She soon developed an affection for another Southern dish—her husband-to-be, Dr. William Brevard Blythe, whom she met in the hospital cafeteria when he sidled over and charmed her.

They married in February, 1956, at University Presbyterian Church, and had four children, William; Anne; David; and John Blythe.

Gloria grew to love the culture and history of her adopted state, while continuing to honor her New England roots. She became a devoted fan of UNC sports, especially basketball. She assisted in numerous memorable comebacks by coaching from the couch.

She also contributed to many realms of the local community through her love and patronage of the arts; through her early membership in the Chapel Hill Preservation Society and the Interfaith Council; through her involvement in the UNC Press and libraries; through her activity as a deacon and circle member at the Presbyterian Church; and as a grade mother and soup kitchen volunteer. A democrat with a big “D” and little “d”, she also engaged quietly in many acts of charity for families and individuals whom she just happened to come across. She remained involved with many of them throughout her life. Her house was always open, with many a good meal and much warm company to be found there.

Survivors include her children; her daughter-in-law, Mellicent; and two grandchildren, Anna and William.

On October 30, a memorial service will be held at 3 P.M. at the University Presbyterian Church, 209 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. Charitable donations may be made in her honor to the Chapel Hill Interfaith Council for Social Services, Capital Campaign or General Fund; or the Blythe Family Fund at UNC Press.

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