On February 18, 2021, our beloved John M. Blackford, 83, died after a three-year battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully with hospice care at his home in The Villages, Florida, surrounded by his loving family.
John was born on April 28, 1937, at the family home of his parents, Ralph and Miriam (Dapper) Blackford. He attended North Robinson High School where he was a standout three sport athlete prior to graduating in 1955. In 1957, John married Nancy (Baum) Blackford, and the couple made their home in Chatfield, Ohio, where they raised their two sons, Barry (Michelle) Blackford and Darrin (Colleen) Blackford. Following a blessed and happy thirty-eight years of marriage, their life together was cut short by Nancy’s death in 1995 after her own courageous battle with cancer.
John’s determination to keep joy and happiness in his life led him to find a new life partner, and in 1997 he married Jean (Courter) Tupps. The couple lived in Ontario and Bucyrus, Ohio, for nearly twenty years while enjoying snow birding to their Florida homes before making their permanent residence in The Villages, Florida. This was their true happy place together where they were surrounded by wonderful friends, were members of Hope Lutheran Church, and participated in many activities together as a couple.
John’s professional career was wide and varied and included being a part of the construction team for the State Route 30 bypass around Mansfield, Ohio, before joining The Timken Company in Bucyrus, Ohio. John’s entrepreneurial spirit soon took hold, leading him to become co-owner of the grain and feed elevator in Chatfield, Ohio, while also farming and raising livestock. His interests soon turned toward real estate and land development. After earning his real estate broker’s license and becoming co-owner of a real estate business, he enjoyed years of success in Bucyrus and the surrounding area. John’s business career concluded in the specialty vehicle sales division of Ohio Bus Sales in Canton, Ohio, where he was a successful sales representative. Never a person to shy away from work, John reluctantly retired in 1998, finding happiness and fulfillment in retired life with Jean.
John held a deep-seated sense of community and faith that led to many years of service on the Nazareth Lutheran Church Council, the Crawford County Children’s Service Board, and as an elected representative on the Buckeye Central School Board. He was a member of The Masonic Lodge 139, Valley of Toledo Council 32nd degree, Columbus Aladdin Shrine, Bucyrus Shrine Club, Bucyrus Lodge F&AM, Bucyrus Elks 156, and Bucyrus Moose 669. In his spare time, John enjoyed golfing, playing cards, traveling, watching and attending college sports, and spending time with his Ohio and Florida circles of family and friends. He was especially fond of watching his grandkids participate in soccer, swimming, basketball, volleyball, barrel racing, and wrestling.
John is survived by his loving wife Jean (Courter) Blackford; sister Jean (Blackford) Hayes of Galion, Ohio; sister-in-law Barb (Baker) Blackford of Bucyrus, Ohio; brother-in-law Jack (Corrine) Courter of Plymouth, Ohio; sister-in-law Linda (Jerry) Laipply of Bucyrus, Ohio; sister-in-law Marvel Ann (Les) Auck of Ontario, Ohio, son Darrin (Colleen) Blackford of Solon, Ohio; step-sons Thom (Sheila) Tupps of Mansfield, Ohio, and Terry Tupps (Terri Gale) of Crestline, Ohio; step-daughter Tanya (Heather) McClees-Tupps of Centerburg, Ohio; grandchildren Nella, Natalee, and Laura Blackford, Paige (Cameron) McLaughlin, and Morgan, Mackenzie, and Marissa Blackford; great granddaughter Charlotte McLaughlin; and step-grandchildren Gina Myers, Chris (Amber) Sarchioto, Courtney Glick, Makayla McClees-Tupps, Brody Hart and many nieces and nephews. John is preceded in death by his parents; son Barry Blackford; mother-in-law’s Mildred Courter and Nellie Baum; sisters Ireta Ruth, Evelyn Blackford, who died during infancy; brothers Marvin Blackford and Lloyd Blackford; seven brothers-in-law and six sisters-in-law.
The family is planning a celebration of life service for John later this year at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Chatfield, Ohio. Donations can be made in John’s name to Hope Lutheran Church: 250 Avenida Los Angelos, The Villages, FL 32162, Cornerstone Hospice of The Villages: 601 Mariposa Way, The Villages, FL 32162, or Nazareth Lutheran Church: 6411 State Route 4 Bloomville, OH 44818.