John "Jerry" Gerald Blackmon

June 9, 2019

CHARLOTTE -  Jerry Blackmon of Charlotte passed away peacefully at Levine & Dickson Hospice House in Huntersville on Sunday, June 9, 2019.  He was born December 23, 1928 in Asheville, N.C., son of George William Blackmon and Mabel Petty Blackmon.   Jerry’s mother moved with the four children to McConnells, S.C. to live with their paternal grandparents after a work injury and ensuing tuberculosis hospitalized her husband for the remainder of his life.  The family had a hard time during the depression, but Jerry had good memories of those years and felt fortunate to grow up in the country, rambling the woods and creeks.  

     After graduation from York High School, Jerry followed his brothers into the U.S. Navy. That became a springboard to the University of South Carolina, where, in his words, “the best thing in my life happened.  I met Irene.”  Irene and Jerry were married for sixty-six years.    At USC Jerry’s entrepreneurial spirit helped him survive.  He supported himself by selling sandwiches and milk in the dormitories.  Throughout his life he maintained a strong work ethic. 

     In 1954, he earned a mechanical engineering degree from USC and worked in that field for almost seven decades, becoming a successful businessman in Charlotte and starting his own companies fifty years ago: J. G. Blackmon and Associates, Blackmon Services, and Carolina Products, Inc.  It was through Carolina Products that Jerry was granted several patents.  

    Always grateful to USC for his education, he established a scholarship fund which has supported numerous mechanical engineering students.  Along with donations to various institutions and charities, Jerry also went out of his way to help anyone in need, seldom mentioning it. 

     While Irene and Jerry were raising their four children, he contributed to the community through politics, serving as a North Carolina Senator and serving on the N.C. Ethics Commission and the Board of Mecklenburg County Commissioners.  He enjoyed working with both sides of the aisle to get things done and was always glad to have been part of the vision and planning for Interstate 485 and Charlotte’s light rail system.  He had a knack for looking into the future and acting on it in the present.  If there was anything that disappointed him, it was the rancor in present-day politics and the inability of both sides to work for the common good of their constituents.

     Family, work, and politics kept Jerry busy, but he found time for a round of golf with friends and vacations at Ocean Isle Beach and Litchfield Beach, where he took the children crabbing.  Trading real estate properties was a favorite “hobby” of Jerry’s, and he and Irene enjoyed traveling with friends.  St. John’s Episcopal became the Blackmon’s church home, and he served on the vestry there.

     With Jerry around, you could count on some good stories, and he was often the instigator, encouraging the children to bring home snakes and other critters.  One of his favorite stories was about the time he rented a goat to eat the briars in the yard.   Things didn’t go well because the goat escaped and ate the neighbor’s azaleas and because the goat was a nanny and had to be milked daily.   Because of Jerry’s humor, friendliness, and stories people liked to be around him--  and he enjoyed people.  As someone has said, “A story is the shortest distance between two people.”  Jerry’s friendships were one of his finest achievements, as were his stories.  

     The Blackmons are all good storytellers, and one of Jerry’s sons relates a memorable learning experience. “It goes back to the summer of 1975 when I had just finished my junior year in college.  I was offered a job working for landlords.  It paid a hundred dollars a day, great money back then. All we had to do was follow the deputy sheriff to the apartment, get the folks out, and put their possessions on the street.  I did it for three days until Dad found out (I suspect Mom was the one who told him).  At dinner he told me I had a choice: I could continue this job and get out of the house, or I could find another job and continue to live at home. As he put it, ‘Blackmons don’t put people on the street.’  That still sticks with me.  I think he felt so strongly because of what his mother went through when she moved during the depression with $2.50 in her pocket, four young children, and a couple of suitcases.”    

     Though he had made Charlotte his home since 1965, Jerry was a country fellow at heart, and his roots were in the timber country of South Carolina and on a farm he owned in Speedwell, Virginia, where for years he raised cattle.  He appreciated his full life and was grateful for what God had given him.   His children deeply appreciate what they learned from their father.   One of his sons who worked with him said, “He gave me a twenty-five-year degree in how to treat employees, customers and suppliers.  He led by example.”

     In thankfulness for his life, Jerry was generous, but he believed that the ability to give does not elevate one person above another.  He asked that these words from an Emily Dickinson poem be in his obituary:   I'm nobody! Who are you? /Are you nobody, too? /Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell…

     Jerry and Irene are both remembered for their wisdom, kindness, generosity, and fun-loving ways.  What greater gift to leave family and friends.    

     Jerry was preceded in death by his wife Irene.  He is survived by their children:  John Blackmon (Susan); Rick Blackmon; Ann Bass (Dale); and Bill Blackmon (Rayna).  He is survived by seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and also by his sister, Joan Christmas.

     A Celebration of Life will be held Friday, June 14, 2019 at 1 PM at St. John’s Episcopal Church.  The family will receive friends following the service at the church.  

     In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1623 Carmel Rd., Charlotte, NC 28226; Charlotte Rescue Mission, P.O. Box 33000, Charlotte, NC 28233; Carolina Raptor Center, 6000 Sample Rd., Huntersville, NC 28078 or Levine & Dickson Hospice House-Huntersville, 11900 Vanstory Dr., Huntersville, NC 28078.   

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

 

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Comments

  • Kathy Boutviseth Iannacone

    I had a pleasure of working with Mr. Jerry Blackmon at Carolina Products 15 years ago. He was always so nice to me and never hesitated to say hello to me every morning. Mr. Jerry was definitely a great man and I'm glad I got to know him within the year I worked at Carolina Products. Prayers for the family during this time!!

  • Dale and Cathy Hargett

    Bill and Family - You are in our hearts and prayers. We are so sorry for your loss and trust the Lord to give you His supernatural comfort, peace and reassurance. Your Dad's obituary was such a blessing to read - what a wonderful legacy. Love and blessings, Dale and Cathy

  • ELEUTERIO CONTRERAS

    It is an honor to know Mr. Blackmon that good sense of humor that he had ,God take you to heaven and his holy glory. God bless you Mr Blackmon .
    Tello Contreras from Tampico México.

  • Skeet Harris

    A man of truly outstanding character, Jerry you will be missed.

  • Carter Pittman

    I was fortunate to team with Jerry when I worked at First Union. Always had a smile on his face and was a man of his word. He will be missed and my prayers go out to his family!

  • Roger Trouesdale

    My friend Rick Blackmon, one of the finest men I have met in my sixty-four years, is a tribute to Jerry and Irene. God bless their souls.