Edward R. Blake Jr. (1948-2008)
After thirty-five years of chasing down bad guys and making his community better, Lieutenant Edward “Eddie” Ray Blake Jr., 60, of Ona, WV, left on his journey to the House of the Lord on the early morning of Saturday, September 13, 2008. Born February 7, 1948 in Cabell County West Virginia, Lt. Blake had recently retired from the Cabell County Sheriff’s Department amid a bout of suspected work-related cancer. Blake joined the Sheriff’s Department June 6, 1972, following his service with the United States Marine Corps, where he served during the Vietnam war. Throughout the many achievements during his career, Blake created the County’s warrant division in 1978, served as the County’s Chief Deputy from 1997 to 2001– serving as acting Sheriff for a period in 2000, was assigned to the US Secret Service during the Clinton administration, was a founding member of the United States Marshal Service’s original C.U.F.F E.D. Task Force in 2002, which he lauded as his “most important accomplishment in his career.” In addition, Blake was a founding member of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge # 122, and was a beloved member of V.F.W. Post #1064, Moose Lodge #2586, and the Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
In his final interview with the Herald Dispatch, Blake talked about his career, and his retirement. He said he had always planned on retiring before January 2008, but his illness had fast-tracked those plans. “It was time,” he said. “Once you make your mind up on those things, it’s no problem. It’s something that 35 years ago, I never dreamed I’d be sitting there writing that (retirement) letter. You think you would be killed long before then.”
When discussing the creation of the County’s warrant division in ’78 and the Marshal’s C.U.F.F.E.D. Task Force, Blake said both groups were critical because arrest warrants were not executed when law enforcement officers were not dedicated to the chase. “These warrants were laying around in drawers,” he said. “Nobody was serving them.” Many of his longtime colleagues commented on his accomplishments, as well as his dedication. Jim Scheidler of the Sheriff’s Department said Blake was a big burley guy with a big heart filled with compassion. “A lot of times that didn’t show,” Scheidler said. “Eddie could be tough on the outside a lot of times. A lot of people saw that in him, even sometimes an edge of roughness. But on the inside, he would do anything in the world for you.” Blake agreed with Scheidler’s assessment and said it applies to all of his colleagues. “You didn’t want go out here and spoil these people, but some of them needed a little help and we would give it to them,” he said.
Blake recalled one Christmas when he participated in arresting a man who had three children, meaning the father wouldn’t be able to see his children that Christmas. Blake said five of the deputies got together and bought toys for those children. Blake always participated in various fund-raising and charity events, which he primarily organized through the F.O.P. Lodge he co-founded. He worked with the V.F.W. Post 1064 and his F.O.P. Lodge many years to organize Christmas parties for under-privileged children in the area; complete with gifts, food, and of course, a visit from Santa himself.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Lieutenant Blake. After a career of stellar accomplishments, wisdom beyond measure, and consistent advice; it will be difficult adjusting to his absence. We want to thank you Lieutenant Blake for your service to our nation, our communities, and for going above and beyond to enrich the lives of so many over the years. Our dearest friend and leader, you will be sorely missed, and never forgotten. God Bless, and Godspeed Lieutenant.