Charles Franklin Blackburn ’46 of 645 Lakeview Drive, died Tuesday, October 15, 2013, in a local nursing home.
Born on April 30, 1925 in Cleveland, Tennessee, he was the son of the late George Cline Blackburn of Johnson City, Tennessee and Anne Rosson Templeton of Scottsboro, Alabama.
Mr. Blackburn graduated from Henderson High School in 1942 where he had been a drummer in the marching band directed by Thomas Hearne that marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City in the spring of his senior year. He attended Davidson College 1942-43 but left to enter the US Navy, training as a pilot for service in World War II.
After graduating from law school at Washington & Lee University, Mr. Blackburn was admitted to the bar in North Carolina and established Blackburn & Blackburn, Attorneys at Law, with his older brother George in 1949. Their firm subsequently merged with the firm of Perry & Kittrell.
After serving as Prosecuting Attorney for Vance County from 1950 to 1954, Mr. Blackburn was elected to the 1959 session of the North Carolina State Senate representing Vance, Warren, Halifax, and Northampton counties. Governor Terry Sanford appointed him to the NC Commission for the Study of Exceptionally Talented Children (1959-61) and as a member and then Chairman of the John H. Kerr Reservoir Development Commission (1962-67). He was City Attorney of Henderson (1966) and was the first Chairman of the Board Of Trustees of Vance County Technical Institute (1969) and of Vance Granville Community College, serving as Chairman until 1977 and seeing the college through its move to its present campus. Mr. Blackburn was President of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce (1977-78) and was named its Outstanding Citizen of the Year in 1990. Mr. Blackburn served for many years in the NC Army National Guard, retiring with the U.S. Army rank of Colonel in 1985 after serving several years as Judge Advocate General for North Carolina. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1965 during the administration of Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
A private graveside service will be held by the family at Elmwood Cemetery. A memorial service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. in the Rose Chapel of First United Methodist Church by Dr. John M. Check. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the church parlor.
He is survived by his wife, Thalia Jane Tillman Blackburn of the home; his son, Charles F. Blackburn, Jr. and wife, Marsha of Raleigh; his granddaughter, Katherine of Raleigh; and several nephews and nieces.
Memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 114 Church Street, Henderson, NC 27536.
Arrangements were by J. M. White Funeral Home.