Saturday, October 23, 2010

Gamma Pi Celebrates Another Omega Life Well-Lived After Back-to-Back Giant Losses

Not quite a year ago, on the evening of November 29, Gamma Pi Brother Phillip Ferguson sent out this email to the Gamma Pi Brotherhood: "I informed one of Brother Blakey's line brothers, Prince Willis, from Knoxville College of Buddy's condition. Prince has visited him in the hospital several times and is quite concerned about Buddy's progress. He said Buddy recognized him and sort of smiled which was his only form of communication."

Bro. Blakey (left) and Bro. Richard Moore 
At the time, Brother Ferguson and Brother William A. Blakey, Esq. were simply tied together by the bond that holds all Omega men together, especially when they are in the same chapter. One was looking out for the welfare of another and reporting back to other Brothers, and it would have happened the same way had it been the other way around. But like a double-edged sword, that e-mail cuts through the heart of the chapter now as Gamma Pi chapter finds itself having participated in yet another Omega Service for a fallen member barely two weeks after performing the same duties for another Brother.

That recently discovered email poignantly ties Brother Ferguson and Brother Blakey (known as "Buddy") together in a way that no one would have expected last year, looking back, as the chapter this week paid homage to Brother Blakey. He entered Omega chapter after a long illness and ironically just a few days after Brother Ferguson entered Omega chapter. Brother Ferguson's period of illness began soon after he sent the note out updating the chapter on Brother Blakey's condition.

Brothers gather for Blakey Omega Service
Just as for Brother Ferguson on October 7, a large contingent of Brothers held an Omega Service for Brother Blakey on October 21 at Greater Mount Nebo AME Church in Bowie, Md. Gamma Pi seemingly has worn black all of the month of October. But through the darkness and the drabness, the bright lights of these Omega Brothers and others in Gamma Pi who have gone on before them shined brighter than ever.

Like Brother Ferguson, Brother Blakey, who entered the Fraternity in 1962 at Beta Epsilon chapter (Knoxville College), was active and fully engaged in Omega through Gamma Pi. He, too, had become legend. He was just two years short of his 50th year as a member of the Fraternity when the Supreme Basileus called him to reward. He was recalled this week as "a man of character, a man of integrity" and a man of "vision, faith and courage."

Brother Blakey's very successful career as an attorney combined his love for politics, law and education. He was a graduate of Knoxville College and later the Howard University School of Law. He had his own practice, William A. Blakey & Associates, in Washington, D.C. He made his passion for education an integral part of his work and as a result of his tireless work in behalf of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, he was inducted into the Black College Hall of Fame in 2001. His concern for education extended to Gamma Pi as he served on the Scholarship Committee, helped the chapter select scholarship recipients and worked closely with Gamma Pi's Project ENRICH college preparatory program.

Bro. Blakey (right) at  Que legislative event
Brother Blakey was a member of Gamma Pi for 17 years. In addition to his work in the area of Scholarship, he served as Legislative Committee chairman and is best known for recently organizing the very successful annual "Ques Night in Annapolis" event.  He also served on the Constitution & Bylaws Committee, the Housing Committee and the Membership Selection Committee. When business ended, Brother Blakey enjoyed the social fellowship of his Omega Brothers and frequented golf outings and HBCU college football games with his Omega Brothers in tow.

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc, and Gamma Pi chapter will miss him dearly. Brothers can visualize him and Brother Ferguson greeting each other at the door to Omega chapter just in time for the next meeting.

Bro. Dove in his favorite environs
In the past year, Gamma Pi also lost Brother Douglas Dove,who passed away in December 2009.  Many recall his quiet, introspective demeanor and the true, genuine friendship he extended to all Brothers. Like a lot of other Gamma Pi Brothers, Brother Dove also had a passion for golf and fraternized often around the game, organizing many of the outings himself. He, too, was active in chapter committee work and supported numerous chapter events. He participated in last year's Achievement Week while very sick-- less than a month before his passing. His Omega Service in Washington, D.C. also drew a large group of Brothers from Gamma Pi and elsewhere.

Basileus Maurice Calhoun announced that the chapter is planning to develop a memorial project for Brothers who have gone on, and a pictorial memorial from Brother Thad Turner is forthcoming. Brother Eddie Epps provided the photo from this week's Omega Service and Brother Turner the others. Also thanks to Brother Joe Felder (Keeper of Records and Seal) and Brother Roland Byrd for supplying biographical information on Brother Blakey.

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