Strasburg grad dies in Maryland flood

Joe Blevins

A Strasburg High School graduate died in Ellicott City, Maryland, during a flash flood Saturday.

Joe Blevins, 38, graduated with the class of 1996. He has worked as the director of financial aid at Baltimore University since 2008, working with students to pay for their higher education.

Storied Strasburg High School football coach and teacher Glenn Proctor said he remembers Blevins as an intelligent, friendly and laid-back student who was bound to accomplish anything he set out for.

“Joe was such a pleasant young man, and he was so bright,” Proctor said. “Golly day was he bright.”

While in high school, Blevins earned the admiration of several teachers. According to the school’s annual, Blevins took an advanced placement class in economics. His guidance counselor, Duncan Currie, said Blevins was one of the first to actually try out the advanced program. He was also awarded the “Most Academic” superlative by his class.

“He could have done anything academically that he wanted to do,” Proctor said. “Such a wonderful young man, I never heard anyone say a cross word about him.”

Millson French, a retired Strasburg High School teacher who also remembers Blevins, recalled him as an intelligent, pleasant young man and a hard worker.

Both French and Proctor said that, in addition to his flair in the classroom, Blevins tended to be well liked by most of his classmates.

At the University of Baltimore, Katie Kauffman worked with Blevins in his department and said he was a family man, full of pride for his three children.

“Joe is one of those guys who’s like a big brother and mentor to a lot of people around here,” Kauffman said. “He’s always had a nice balance between being a hard worker, getting the job done, and just being a good friend and coworker.”

Laura Jordan, who also worked with Blevins, said she and Blevins would often eat lunch together. She recalled him as a generous person.

“He showed up at my house one day, unexpectedly, just to give my 5-year-old son the ‘Star Wars’ trilogy,” she said. “He was just a caring and genuine person.”

In a news release from the university, Kurt L. Schmoke, president, and Darlene Brannigan Smith, provost and executive vice president, said Blevins did his challenging job with grace and precision, and his presence will be missed.

“Joe strongly believed in the role of financial assistance in transforming students’ lives,” they stated in the release. “He had an important job and he did it amazingly well. We know we speak for his many colleagues at UB when we say that he will be greatly missed. We express our sorrow and deepest sympathy to Joe’s family, friends and co-workers.”

Blevins was one of two who died in Saturday’s torrential rainfall that rocked Ellicott City, Maryland, according to the National Weather Service. The rain caused severe flash flooding that caused excessive damage to the city.

Blevins’ brother’s girlfriend, Alicia Shelton, set up a GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses and to build a fund for his three children, Hailey, Ashlyn and Jacob. The page can be found at www.gofundme.com/2hjaae4.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com