Robert Keith Blackburn, died peacefully in his home and continues his journey in the presence of the resurrected Jesus Christ, on February 4, 2019, at age 76.
He was a much-loved husband, father, grandfather, and friend to everyone who knew him. We celebrate, as an occasion for thanksgiving, the life of this remarkable servant of God who has lived in the communion of the church.
Bob, as he was known to family and friends, was born in DeRidder, La., to Robert Clyde and Virginia (Law) Blackburn on October 6, 1942. He grew up in Findlay, Ohio and graduated from Findlay High School. Bob went on to graduate from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1968. While attending OSU, Bob “Wally” Blackburn was a brother in the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Its also where he met Mary Bettina Guthrie from Marion, Ohio, whom he would marry on Dec. 23, 1967, and eventually have three children.
Following graduation, he began his career as a systems analyst and programmer at Owens Illinois in Toledo, Ohio. After several successful years at O-I, Bob was asked to join the Nuclear Power Division of the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1977 and relocated with his family to Chattanooga, where Bob would continue to excel as a program analyst and earning an M.B.A. in Management Information Systems from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1997. Bob retired after 25 honorable years of service with TVA in 2002.
Bob and his family joined Trinity Lutheran Church in Hixson, becoming active and faithful members of the church. Bob was an example for his family and others as he served on Church Council, as an Usher, member of the Building and Grounds committee, the Friday work team, Sunday School Teacher, and all-around servant. He also proudly served his community in Harrison as commissioner of the community baseball league, as Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster of Troop 82 of the Boy Scouts of America. Fifteen young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout under Bob’s leadership.
Bob remained active in the church and community throughout the remainder of his life, living by the words of the Boy Scout Oath:
“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
Bob is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Mary, his two sons, Robert (Rhonda) Blackburn and John (Kim) Blackburn, sister Becky (Tom) O’Brien, and brother Jon (Linda) Blackburn, five grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and a wonderful extended family. He was preceded in death by parents Robert and Virginia Blackburn, his daughter Catherine, and sister Susan.
Bob loved his family and friends. His courage and determination to beat cancer twice previously is a testament to his love of life. He didn’t tell others how to live their lives but allowed his faith in God, love of family, and service to others serve as an example to all.
The family will receive friends from 3-4 p.m. on Feb. 9, prior to a memorial service and internment at Trinity Lutheran Church, 5001 Hixson Pike, Hixson, Tn. 37343, where Bob and Catherine will be interred together in Trinity’s Columbarium. In lieu of flowers, the family request mourners provide donations in Bob’s memory to: Hospice of Chattanooga, 4411 Oakwood Drive, Chattanooga, Tn. 37416, the Boy Scouts of America - Troop 82, 5621 Highway 58, Harrison, Tn. 37341, or Trinity Lutheran Church – Building and Grounds, 5001 Hixson Pike, Hixson, Tn. 37343.
Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, 423 531-3975.