Robert Joseph Blackwell, 72, of the New Hope community, went to be with the Lord Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 at Columbus Regional Healthcare.
Robert was born Nov. 23, 1944 to Lannie (Stone) and Joseph Blackwell. He grew up on a tobacco farm and excelled in football at Whiteville High School, graduating in 1963. His parents were Godly role models and at an early age, he gave his heart to Jesus and was baptized March 28, 1954. He was a lifelong member of New Hope Baptist Church where he served as a deacon.
He fell in love, and married Maxine (Emily) Tedder July 20, 1963 before leaving for the U.S. Navy. He served on several ships including USS Columbia, which picked up the Apollo space capsule. After serving on the USS FD Roosevelt during Vietnam, he was honorably discharged in 1967.
He returned to Whiteville, Maxine and baby daughter Teresa (born 1966) and lived in a mobile home beside his parents. He returned to farming and began working at Federal Paper Board in Riegelwood. He built the family home, with the help of his father-in-law, Byron Tedder. After another daughter, Wendy, (born in 1969), the family moved into the home later that year. He and Maxine were also blessed with daughter Robin (born 1971) and daughter April (born 1975), and he was a proud father of four girls. In 1984, Marcus was born and completed the Blackwell family. He was excited to finally participate in boy activities.
Robert graduated from Southeastern Community College and became an instrument mechanic at International Paper Board. He served as an EMT-D at work until his retirement.
Robert was a jack of all trades and master of many. Along with farming, he operated a backhoe, had a heating and air conditioning business, body shop, and was a car dealer. He loved to pursue new adventures. He learned to fly and enjoyed teaching others to fly and water ski. The family shared great times at their home at Lake Waccamaw and camping at Myrtle Beach. He was an avid NASCAR fan.
Robert was a giving friend and mentor to many. He was a naturally intelligent man and could repair anything. A man of few words, he encouraged others to reach their God given potential.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph (1970) and Lannie (1978) and his daughter, Wendy, (2016).
He is survived by his brother, David and wife, Kathyrn Blackwell, of Wake Forest. He is also survived by his wife, Maxine, who steadfastly stood by his side for more than 53 years; his son, Marcus of the home; his daughter, Teresa Blackwell, grandson, Jack Myers (9) of Enumclaw, Wash., daughter, Robin and Kerry Hodge, grandchildren, Emmalee (8), and William (6) Hodge, of Green Sea, S.C., and daughter April and John Sherbert, grandchildren, Lance (14), Zackery (12), and Grace (10) Sherbert of Stedman.
A Celebration of Life service was held Jan. 18, 2017 at New Hope Baptist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to New Hope Baptist Church, 252 Rough and Ready Road, Whiteville, N.C. 28472.