John Norris Blackwelder

November 11, 2022

John Norris Blackwelder, 86, of Charlotte died peacefully November 11, 2022 at Atrium Health Medical Center surrounded by his loving family. A proud native of Statesville, NC, he was the son of Norris Monroe Blackwelder and Thelma Godby Blackwelder.

John is survived by his wife of 43 years, Sara (Sally) Hough Blackwelder and their children, Paul Wright and his wife, Jennifer and Sarah Wright Robinson; his former wife, Sally Barnett and their children, Lucy Stephens and her husband, Louis, John Blackwelder and his wife, Heather and Martha Neal Blackwelder; and grandchildren, Louis and Sarah Stephens, Neal, Leo and Drew Blackwelder and Lucas, Weldon and Brooks Wright.

John was born and raised in Statesville, NC where his father ran a successful furniture store. Following graduation from UNC Chapel Hill where he majored in economics and navy sciences, John would serve two years of active duty followed by thirty years of reserve duty in the US Navy. While at Chapel Hill he was in NROTC, the Scabbard and Blade as well as the KA fraternity.

Following his active duty with the Navy, John returned to his beloved Statesville where he joined his father’s furniture business and began to make transformational changes to the way that furniture was marketed to the consumer. He was the first to use consumer catalogues along with telephone and internet marketing. In addition to being President of Blackwelder Furniture Company, he founded John Blackwelder International Export Company and was one of the first to market American furniture to the European market. He traveled extensively throughout the world and would continue to travel following his retirement at age seventy-four. While living in Statesville, John’s community service included serving on the Statesville City Council and as Mayor Pro-tem.

John was a devoted member of Myers Park United Methodist Church where he enjoyed teaching Disciple Bible Classes and was a member of the New Covenant and Logos Sunday School Classes. He participated in several mission trips to Haiti. John was also an accomplished private pilot. A passionate and devoted husband, father, and grandfather, John will be remembered for his love of life, his family, and his many friends.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, November 18, 2022 at Myers Park United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall following the service.

Memorials may be sent to Myers Park United Methodist Church at 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC 28207.

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


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  • tachi dellinger

    My thoughts and prayers are with Sally and her family in the loss of John. He made a difference in this world, making it a better place. Peace and grace to all of you.

  • Buff Moore

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally and the family at this time. John was a great guy with an infectious sense of humor, and he will be greatly missed by all of his many friends. RIP John, and I will be pulling the Heels through for us!! Buff Moore

  • Melvin McIntosh

    Sharing a conversation with John was always a good occasion. The subject was almost always about family and/or church. His joyful love of both inspired me and helped me to work on improving my love of both church and family. Anita and I will miss him sitting in front of us in church. May God's greatest comfort be with all the family during these days.

  • Harry T. Johnson

    In loving memory of Cousin John, someone who brought a smile to every occasion. He’ll be missed. Thinking of you.

  • Lisa and Scott Yarbrough

    Johnny was our neighbor for these past 17 years on Hermitage Court, and visiting with him was always a bright spot in the day. Memories of hauling our boys across the street when they were little to swim in the Blackwelders’ beautiful pool and chatting with he and Sally… as our boys got older sending them over to help him every now and again with his computer…the simple, comforting knowledge that such a gentile, extremely interesting and curious man was our neighbor was always a wonderful feeling. He will be sorely missed- in our family and on our street- and our thoughts are with you, Sally, and your whole beautiful family.

  • Billy and Veronica Clark

    Dear Sally, We are keeping you foremost in our thoughts and prayers as you mourn the loss of Johnny. As we are fairly recently over Covid, we will probably sit masked in the rear on Friday, and might miss the reception after the service. Until then, all good wishes for you and your family and friends. Love, Billy & Veronica

  • Amanda Coleman

    I have had the privilege to work closely with John over the last few years and it has been an honor to get to know this incredibly humble and kind man.

  • Horace B YORK Jr

    John's mother and my mother, Clara Godby York, were sister's. Our family is sorry for your loss.

  • Don Woodside

    John we know you are now in heaven with Christ. Will miss you at our Monday lunch at Brazwell s. Especially enjoyed hearing you tell of loading your twin engine airplane with Bibles you and a good friend flew to Haiti.