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John L. Blackburn

Monday, July 6, 2009

John L. Blackburn, 84, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., died Friday, July 3, 2009.

A memorial service will be conducted by Charles Durham Tuesday, July 7, 2009, at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa. It will follow a family burial service at Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa at 2 p.m. Pallbearers are Tom Blackburn, Don Crump, David Mathews, Stan Murphy, Larry O'Neal, Malcolm Portera, Roger Sayers, Donald Stewart and Joab Thomas. Honorary pallbearers are Cordell Wynn, Robert Witt, Don Siegelman, Tom and Carol Patterson, Don and Bobbie Siegal, Redding Pitt, Ski Adamczyk, Steven Antonoff, Oliver Urbigkeit, Blackburn Institute students, fellows and advisory board members, former associates at University of Alabama and members of Tuscaloosa Rotary Club. Following the memorial service, there will be a reception for family and friends at the University Club in Tuscaloosa. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts be made to Blackburn Institute, P.O. Box 870122, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0122, First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa, 900 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401, or Hospice of West Alabama, 3851 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404. Plans for a celebratory remembrance of the life of Blackburn will be announced at a later date by University of Alabama and Blackburn Institute.

Born Dec. 21, 1924, in Malta Bend, he was the son of Clarence Oliver and Vivian Mitchener Blackburn. During World War II, he served the U.S. Army in the China-Burma-India theater. After leaving the service, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Missouri Valley College, a Master of Education degree from University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Florida State University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters by University of Alabama in 2006. He began his professional career in higher education administration in 1952 at Florida State University. In 1956, he came to University of Alabama. In 1969, he began working at University of Denver. In 1978, he returned to University of Alabama. After his retirement in 1990, he established and served as president of Blackburn Educational Technologies, providing consulting services to colleges and universities throughout the United States. In recognition of his central role in its recent history, including his leadership in the peaceful racial desegregation of the institution in the 1960s, University of Alabama established the Blackburn Institute in 1995. He served as president of National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and twice as president of American Association of University Administrators. He was president of Alpha Sigma Phi, his national social fraternity, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, a Jason and was recognized in Who's Who in America. He was a member of Rotary International and president of Tuscaloosa Rotary Club, a member of Apollo Club and served on the board of directors of Community Foundation of West Alabama. In 2008, Blackburn was named a Pillar of West Alabama and in 2009 was awarded the Rotary Rose. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria Bullington Blackburn of Tuscaloosa; one daughter, Holly Piper and her husband, Harry M. Piper III, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; two grandsons, Harry M. Piper IV and John Mitchener Piper, both of St. Petersburg; two sisters-in-law, Dona Blackburn and Josephine Blackburn Malter of Malta Bend; and numerous nieces and nephews.

His parents and his brothers Gordon, David and Clarence Mitchener Blackburn preceded him in death.

Additional information provided per family recompense.

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