Services for Cecil Blackwell will be held Monday, May 3, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at Jones Chapel Church of God with Rev. Earl Wheatley and Rev. Ron Leonard officiating. Interment will be at Jones Chapel Church of God Cemetery. James F. Webb Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Mr. Blackwell, 85, of the Clarkdale Community died Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010 at Anderson Regional Medical Center. He was born on October 29, 1924 in Clarke County. After graduation from Clarkdale High School, he enlisted in the USAAF. After he completed training, he was assigned to the to the 66th Bombardment Squadron, 44th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force, based in Shipdham, England. In the final months of WW II in Europe, S/Sgt Blackwell flew 8 combat missions over Europe as a waist gunner in a B-24 Liberator Bomber. He was awarded the Air Medal for his part in these missions.
After being discharged, Mr. Blackwell attended Mississippi State University where he earned his B.S. Degree in Horticulture in June of 1951. In 1955, he received his Masters of Science in Horticulture and Plant Physiology from University of Maryland. Mr. Blackwell started his career as an instructor of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas. Later he was an Extension Specialist in Horticulture at the University of Georgia. In 1959 he joined the editorial staff of the “Progressive Farmer Magazine” as their Horticultural Editor. During his tenure there, he wrote “The Progressive Farmer’s Garden Book of the South”. In 1965, he became the Executive Director and CEO of the American Society for Horticultural Science. He supervised that organizations growth and expansion until his retirement in 1988.
Mr. Blackwell grew up and remained active in the Church of God. He served on board and councils in his local church’s and on state boards in both Mississippi and Alabama. His last literary accomplishment was to compile a history of Jones Chapel Church of God.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Louise Blackwell of Meridian; sons: Carl Blackwell and wife, Sandra of Meridian and Greg Blackwell and wife, Kim of Olney, MD; daughter, Donna Riley and husband, Mike of Durango, CO; brothers: Rev. George Blackwell, JR and wife, Klue of Meridian and David Blackwell and wife, Terry of Nashville, TN; sister, Mavis Lunsford and husband, Bobby of Lake City, FL; grandchildren: Kristin Riley of Las Vegas, NV; Jodi Murray and husband, Tom of LaJolla, CA; Katie Blackwell and Kyle Blackwell of Olney, MD and great grandchildren, Katie Murray and Ryan Murray of LaJolla, CA; several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, George D. Blackwell, Sr. and Nealy Blackwell and a brother, Leo Blackwell.
Pallbearers will be Todd Skinner, Christopher Skinner, Elgin Blackwell, Evan Blackwell, Johnny Blackwell and Kevin Blackwell. Honorary pallbearer will be Kyle Blackwell.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations to the American Heart Association.
Visitation will be today at the funeral home from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Monday, at the church, one hour before services.