John, known to his parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and childhood friends as “Jay,” and known to others as “Jack,” was born on March 1, 1925, in Kansas City, Missouri to John and Emily Blackburn.
Jack grew up during the Depression, living just a few blocks from Lake Michigan in Glencoe, Illinois. He first attended New Trier High School, and then the family moved to rural Rockville, MD.
In 1943, Jack enlisted in the Navy just before his 18th birthday. He served on the U.S.S. Ulvert M. Moore, a destroyer escort under the command of Lt. Comdr. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. During his service, Jack was a radioman (Morse code communications), and when at general quarters, he was a hot shell man in a five-inch gun mount. The Ulvert M. Moore participated in the Philippine liberation and provided close air support during the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations. In addition, the Ulvert M. Moore sank a Japanese submarine, downed a Japanese tactical fighter plane, and destroyed a Japanese dive bomber.
After the Navy, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a year and then graduated from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.
Following college, he worked at Johns Manville and then was hired as the general manager of Alert Manufacturing & Supply Company in Chicago, where he remained until his retirement.
Jack met and married a nurse named Beverly Mae Setterlund, with whom he raised four children in Deerfield, Illinois: Leslie Briasson Blackburn, Laurie (Terry) Higgins, Nancy Anstett, and Carol Rogers.
Jack loved the Lord and cherished his big family. Music was also at the heart of his life: hymns, jazz, classical, big bands. He was a talented pianist, still practicing at age 98. He loved being outdoors and enjoyed all kinds of activities. In his younger years, those included basketball, tennis, golf, boating, and swimming. He read his Bible every day, and was an avid reader of biographies, classics, history, and military thrillers. All through his 90’s, he attended concerts and great-grandkids’ sporting events, regularly used his smart devices, and played family games (often cheating). Jack was known for his sharp wit. He was deeply thankful for the long life God gave him, and he left a legacy of laughter, music, and faith in Jesus.
Jack was preceded in death by his wife Beverly, son Les, sister Dorothy, and brother Jim.
Jack is survived by his three daughters, twelve grandchildren, twenty-four great- grandchildren, and eight nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at 2:00pm, followed by a reception, at Front Range Baptist Church, 625 E. Harmony Rd, Fort Collins, CO.
Jack will be laid to rest at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Friday, October 20, 2023 at 11:30am to 11:45am.