March 28, 1933 – September 16, 2021 Secret pen pal “Ladybug” Emily Louise (Lenoir) Blackwell, 88, died on Thursday, September 16, 2021 in Chicago IL. She was born on March 28, 1933 in Shreveport LA. to Thomas W. & Dorothy (Kyle) Lenoir. Emy graduated from Central High School (Class ’51) in Chattanooga TN and then attended the University of Chattanooga where she was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi Student Association. She moved to Los Angeles and started working at System Development Corporation in Santa Monica, where she met Dale Lamar Blackwell, Jr. Emily and Dale were married on March 19, 1966 at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles and lived in Westchester until 1973, when they moved to Granada Hills in the San Fernando Valley with their five-year-old son Brad. Emy enjoyed oil painting and for several years took studio lessons from various teachers, including some well-known TV art teachers. She began working as an office secretary at Robert Frost Junior High School in the late 1980s and retired in 1997. Also from the 1980s, Emily became an anonymous pen pal for terminally ill children. She participated in at least two programs that brought volunteers like Emy together with hospital children across the country. Every month or so Emily would send her pen pals a card and letter, sometimes with a small gift, and always sign her anonymous letters with a red ladybug stamp. Some children (or their parents) would reply to “ladybugs” and thank her for raising their spirits. Emy enjoyed spending the last few years of her life at home with her three grandchildren. Emily leaves behind her son Brad and daughter-in-law Jennifer and their three grandchildren: Zoe, Skye, and Thomas (Chicago IL), in addition to her cousin James W. Kyle, Jr. (Shreveport LA). She had died of her husband Dale in 2017. Due to the pandemic, a traditional church service was replaced by a small gathering of the immediate family, who scattered their ashes in Lake Michigan on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Instead of flowers, Emily’s family is asking for a donation on their behalf to one of their favorite charities: Perry’s Place – Heaven on Earth (heavenlypets.org) or Smile Train (smiletrain.org).
Published by Los Angeles Daily News on October 2, 2021.