YOUNGSVILLE - Edward Francis Bland, Sr., 87, died Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009 at the Carolina House of Wake Forest. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan.17, at Oak Level Christian Church, with the Rev. Gary Williams officiating. Burial will follow in the Oak Level Christian Church cemetery.

He was born in Sampson County, the son of the late Carrie Boney Bland and Abbe Bland, and was a veteran of the US Navy. He was a 1949 graduate of Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Nashville, Tenn., and devoted more than 20 years of his life to funeral service. In later years, he was owner and operator of the State Soda Shop in Raleigh.

Surviving: his daughters, Susan Maher of New Bern and Jane Andersen of Raleigh; sons, Ed Bland Jr. and wife, Lysa of Raleigh, Bill Bland and wife, Tina of Youngsville and Danny Bland and wife, April of Wilson; and six grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Lou Beckwith Bland.

Flowers are welcome or memorial contributions may be made to Oak Level Christian Church Cemetery Fund.

A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Wake Forest.