Rev. Jeffery William Blum
Jeff was born 6/27/1952 in Dansville, NY, and died at home in Nashville on 9/12/2022. He was proceeded in death by his father, William Blum, and is survived by his spouse of 45 years, Rev. Diane Luton Blum, their sons, Will Blum (NYC), Jack Blum and his spouse, Ashley Blum, and one beloved grandson, Oaklus “Oak” Blum (Nashville). He’s also survived by his mother, Renee Rudd (KC); brother Chris Blum (KC), sisters Diana Manter (Flagstaff) and Jamie Faulkner (KC); 14 nieces and nephews, as well as great and great-great nieces and nephews. Jeff was also that “beloved” uncle to dozens more who found in him a creative scoutmaster, boat monkey and adventurer. From work teams for Guatemala schools or Habitat builds in Nashville, to rebuilding sailboats and teaching windsurfing, Jeff brought joy and laughter to work and play.
Jeff graduated from Lynchburg College (B.A.) and Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div.). He was ordained in the Disciples of Christ, Christian Church, serving as a pastor in college, and as a favorite substitute or interim preacher for Disciples, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. He loved teaching 9-month courses of “Becoming Disciples Through Bible Study” in four of Diane’s parishes. As a disciple who was called to live his ministry as an advocate and organizer for people in prison or jail and their families, he worked in non-profits and public service 45+ years. He helped found Reconciliation Ministries and Guest House, Nashville’s Mental Health Court, and the Magdalene House Project. He also played an integral part in bringing many life-saving programs to Nashville and into the Sheriff’s Department. He edited and cowrote Tools for the Ultimate Trial in 1991, a manual for post-conviction capital case mitigation (translate: how to help death row inmates be seen as human beings in their appeals process)- a manual still used in digital format. He also wrote for The Upper Room in devotional Bible Studies.
Jeff worked as state director of the TN Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, offered Keynote speeches to similar groups in several states and Washington, D.C. He served the City of Nashville- Metro for 25 years, first in the Public Defender’s office and then in the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). He was the court and jail liaison for DCSO at the time of his retirement in 2017. He had been involved creatively with mental health clinicians, community partners, people with special needs, defense and prosecuting attorneys, judges and the families and pastors of persons in jail or prison.
All the while he had a distinguished career as the spouse of a United Methodist pastor. He gained love and fame among this group of spouses with the many verses he composed and sang for “Wasting Away Again in a Methodist Parsonage.” He also made Christmas letter history with (too) many years of the hilarious and truth-stretching “Blum Family Enquirer.” As lived fully to the end with early onset Alzheimer’s, Jeff and Diane found new friendships and sustained old ones with the deep and abiding sense of humor that had brought them together. He embodied the words of Wendell Berry read at their wedding “…Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”
Jeff loved parenting his sons and mentoring colleagues. He helped all of us to take the most vulnerable humans more seriously while taking ourselves more lightly. Even with a terrible disease that took away so much, he managed to become a beloved grandfather and a precious “friend” with Diane- and to a multitude of you.
A service of celebration is set 9/24/2022 at 1pm at West End United Methodist Church- 2200 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203. Visitation follows the service.
To livestream the service, go to www.westendumc.org/livestream and select: Jeff Blum Memorial service
The family requests that gifts in memory of Jeff be given to Park Center’s Homeless Outreach program: https://parkcenternashville.org/donate/ and specify in memory of Jeff Blum or to one of the churches or organizations they have served.
Nashville Cremation Center is honored to be entrusted with handling Reverend Blum's arrangements. Please visit his tribute page to leave a thoughtful note for the family.