Evelyn Blythe, the founder of Community Developmental Services, passed away Tuesday in Martin at the age of 85.
Miss Blythe’s longtime friend and eventual successor at CDS, Cathy Cate, says Miss Blythe’s determination to help her developmentally-challenged son, Roger, get an education, was the driving force that began CDS in 1971.
Thanks in part to Miss Blythe’s efforts, Tennessee passed a mandatory education law shortly after CDS opened requiring the state to educate all children, regardless of their developmental level.
Consequently, the special-needs children left CDS and went into public schools, and by 1973 Miss Blythe’s program served adults only.
Cate says St. John’s-CDS is an extremely important organization for the Northwest Tennessee area.
Funeral arrangements for Evelyn Bell Blythe are incomplete at this time.