Fannie Ruth Blocker, a beloved mother, daughter, sister, educator, and friend, departed this life on November 9, 2023.
Fannie Ruth Blocker (affectionately known as “Ruthie” to family) was born on November 16, 1948 in Newsoms, Virginia to the late John H. Russell and Fannie E. Kee. She was the fourth of six children, and grew up from humble beginnings on a farm in Southampton County, Virginia.
Fannie Ruth began her academic career at Riverview High School, where she graduated with high marks in 1967. She moved on to Norfolk State University (which was Norfolk State College at the time she was enrolled), where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics in 1971. This laid the foundation for a future career that would impact the lives of countless students.
After college graduation, Fannie Ruth joined the ranks of Pan-American Airways in 1972 as a flight attendant, where she worked for seven years before transitioning to her calling – teaching. In 1981, she started teaching as a part-time Math instructor at both the Suffolk and Franklin campuses of Paul D. Camp Community College. She then advanced into teaching at the high school level when she joined Suffolk Public Schools in 1983 as a Math teacher at John F. Kennedy High School (now a middle school). After 10 years in Suffolk schools, she transferred to Southampton Public Schools and joined the faculty at Southampton High School in 1993. Her final chapter in education concluded with her retirement in summer 2012. For a little over three decades, Fannie Ruth shared her expertise and passion for math with students, faculty, and administrators, leaving an indelible mark in the minds of those she taught.
Fannie Ruth’s biggest loves were God and her family, especially her grandchildren, who were her pride and joy. She loved the Lord and joyfully accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at a young age. She was a faithful member of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Franklin, Virginia for many years before moving to Suffolk, Virginia in 2020, where she then became a member of First Baptist Church of South Hill in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Fannie Ruth’s legacy is one of faith, dedication, compassion, perseverance, and a lifelong commitment to education. Her professional accomplishments were outstanding; yet the love and kindness she shared with others, along with her nurturing spirit and fierce dedication to her calling had the biggest impact on the communities she served. Although we deeply mourn her sudden loss, we celebrate her life, her legacy, and the memories shared by many who were blessed to know and love her.
Fannie Ruth leaves behind to cherish her memory her beloved daughter, Racquel Comdeco (Lawrence) of Chesapeake, Virginia; five grandchildren, Nya, Cameron, Dominic, Camilla, and Carina; three sisters, Mary Jane Barnes of Suffolk, Virginia, Connie Owens (John) of Elk Grove, California, and Rosalyn McClenny (Junius) of Franklin, Virginia; two brothers, James Earl Russell (Lettie) of Grand Prairie, Texas and John Russell Jr. (Italia) of Houston, Texas; special nieces, Kim Gonzalez of Suffolk, Virginia, Anissa Latoya McClenny of Atlanta, Georgia, and Natalie Eley (Timothy) of Zuni, Virginia; special nephew, Terry Lee (Dorothy) of Suffolk, Virginia, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, and friends.
Fannie is predeceased by her parents, John H. Russell and Fannie E. Kee, one granddaughter, Hannah Rose Comdeco, her maternal and paternal grandparents, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.