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Hundreds gather to remember Elite News publisher Jordan Blair

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By Julie Fancher

Family, friends, community leaders, and prominent elected officials gathered at Saint Paul AME Church in Dallas Wednesday night to celebrate the life of Elite News publisher Jordan “Randy” Blair.

Blair was honored by hundreds of mourners at the church, where he had been a member for 45 years. He served as president of the Male Chorus, and was named Saint Paul AME’s Man of the Year in 2002 and 2007.

Charles Redd, who was a member of the chorus alongside Blair, praised his friend and shared the joy that Blair brought to his life, and the lives of everyone he met.

“Anyone who knew Jordan knew he was a loving, caring person,” said Redd. “Words can’t really describe the type of individual he was.”

Blair, son of Elite News founding publisher William Blair Jr., passed away at the age of 54 on Feb. 17 following a battle with cancer. Elite News is a weekly, family-owned Dallas newspaper, established in 1949. It has a predominately African American readership and strives to keep its readers informed on important issues within the community.

Blair’s funeral will be held on Thursday at the Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas.

Texas Senator Royce West came to the memorial from Austin to share his condolences and memories. He began by asking all those touched by Jordan Blair to stand. The entire church stood and began to applaud.

West brought with him a proclamation from the Texas Senate to present to the family. The proclamation detailed all of Blair’s accomplishments including his love and devotion to education. Blair served on many local school organizations as well as on the Dallas County Schools Board.

“He loved our young people,” Dallas County Constable Derrick Evans said about Blair’s devotion to education and the local schools.

In addition to a select group of officials and members of Blair’s church chosen to say a few words, numerous friends and family members lined up to share their memories, condolences and celebrate Blair’s life.

Blair’s sister Terri Lynch spoke of the closeness she shared with her brother, and the void his death has left in her life.

“My brother would call me and say I love you, and I would say I love you more. And now, I miss him more,” Lynch said holding back tears.

Blair passed away hours after a public tribute to celebrate his achievements and 14 years as publisher of Elite News. That event, held on Feb. 16, was attended by hundreds. Blair was too ill to attend.

Winsor Barbee, a longtime friend and coworker with Blair, helped to organize the public tribute, as well as Wednesday’s memorial service.

“We will make sure his legacy carries on,” she promised his family.

Blair is survived by his wife of 25 years, Brenda Blair; daughter Taylor Blair and sons Harrison and Jordan; parents Mozelle and William Blair Sr.; sisters Debra Abron and husband Vernon; Michelle Gilstrap and husband Paul; Terri Lynch and husband David; and brothers Robert Blair, Darryl Blair and numerous nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.

Julie Fancher is a 20-year-old Convergence Journalism and Political Science major at Southern Methodist University.

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