Mrs. Easter Elaine Bland, age 72 of Pittsboro, North Carolina transitioned into eternal rest on Saturday, February 25, 2023, at UNC Hospital Chapel Hill.
On April 9, 1950, Easter Sunday morning, a beautiful bouncing baby girl was born to the late Bertha Farrar Bruton and the late Richard Leach. She was given the name Easter by the midwife Momma Junia; Elaine by her mother. No one knew at that time that the unconditional love Jesus displayed at the cross that we celebrate during the Easter season would be a legacy of love that Easter would display throughout her life.
She attended Horton High School and was a cheerleader, a skill she continued in adulthood cheering on her family members at games. Easter graduated as a proud Thunderbolt in the Class of 1968 as an honor student. Easter then worked at Chatham Mills for 28 years. Later, she was employed by Chatham County Schools for 15 years, retiring in 2012. While in the school system, she called many students her children as well as some teachers. She loved each one as if she had birthed them herself. Her love for people was immeasurable.
On April 9, 1976, she had her first date with the love of her life, Robert J. Bland. This ever-lasting love led to holy matrimony on October 9, 1982. This union created one child, Tanika D. Bland, “Nikki”.
Easter’s love of the Lord began in her home and was then fostered at Mt. Sinai AME Church under the leadership of Rev. B. S. Foust. During her time at Mt. Sinai, she served in many capacities such as Director of YPD, Missionary, Stewardess, President of the Howard Johnson Ensemble, and member of the Senior Choir. With her unwavering support of her husband, Easter served as First Lady of White Rock AME Church in Micro, NC, and most recently Evans Chapel AME Church located in Smithfield, NC. She was a member of the Ministers’ Wives Club of the North Carolina Conference. While at Evans Chapel, she also served as the Vice-President of the Missionary Society. Her greatest passion was decorating the church for any occasion. She took this task from watching her mother, Bertha. She was meticulous in her decorating, making sure everything had an appropriate color scheme and the decorative items each lovingly positioned in their perfect place. The final touch always resulted in a beautifully created masterpiece. Yet for Easter, it wasn’t about people admiring her work, it was about her love for the Lord and her desire to make His house a beautiful place of worship.
Easter has touched so many lives and her impact will be everlasting. Left to cherish special memories are her husband, Robert; daughter, Tanika; siblings Brenda Marsh, Charles Bruton (Eyvonne), Nettie Bruton, William Bruton (Laurita), and Rev. Ricky McKinney. Easter created a special bond with her two sisters-in-love Barbara Lawes (Danny) and Mary Headen and her brother-in-love Howard Bland (Cynthia). Her Godchildren Rinaldo Marsh, Sr., Rinaldo Marsh, Jr., Kevin Bruton, Thomas Hadley, Rev. Samantha Robinson, Rev. Jonathan Ford, Kristyn Alston, and Steven Puro were blessed by her constant love. Easter forged a unique relationship with her cousins Hazel Hadley, Ann Dark, Wanda Wardlaw, Charlene Martin, Angela Commodore, and her “Ride or Die” Wanda Bland. Easter’s aunties, Bettie Leach, Mattie Myrie, Lucy Ethridge, Janet Leach, Helen Brooks, Mary Reaves, Josephine Lightsey, and Mamie Lynn cherished her as much as she cherished them. Dotty Whitaker and the Mann/Smith family held a special place in her heart. Most recently, her heart was overflowing with love for her “grandson” Messiah also known as Mr. Northwood. There are a host of cousins, nieces, nephews, friends, students, teachers, and church members that will forever cherish their time with her and carry on her legacy of love.
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