• Henry Clay Blackburn
    October 23,2012

    Henry Clay Blackburn

    PLAINFIELD — H. Clay Blackburn, 95, passed away Oct. 18, 2012, in the Woodridge Nursing Home in Berlin, with his wife of 63 years at his side.

    Clay was born Easter Sunday, April 8, 1917, in North Wilkesboro, N.C., to William Blackburn and Maggie Alexander. At the age of 17, his family moved to Belews Creek, N.C. Clay enlisted in the Army and was proud to be a World War II veteran where he acquired the nickname “Blackie.” Clay later moved to Arlington, Va., where he soon met and married his wife, Athalie Smith, in 1949. The Blackburns made Arlington their home where they raised their four children. Clay worked as a letter carrier in the U.S. Postal Service until his retirement in 1973. Additionally, Clay worked a second job as a barber, a trade that he picked up in the Army. In 1974, the family moved to Plainfield onto the family’s Perry Farm, established in 1793.

    Clay enjoyed retirement and often remarked, when asked how he kept himself occupied, that he was too busy to give it much thought. Clay was an active leader in the Indian Guides, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in both Virginia and Vermont. He also loved to take his wife and young family camping for many of their vacations. Over the years, Clay enjoyed a number of hobbies that many remember him for. He was an avid gardener, beekeeper, maple syrup maker, woodcarver, musician and hunter. As a father, he made every effort to be a part of each of his children’s lives; in later years, as “granddaddy,” he maintained that same effort. He was an active member of the Barre Baptist Church and a Mason for over 55 years.

    Survivors include three brothers, Billy Blackburn, Justin Blackburn and Chad Blackburn, and a sister, Mary Nell Manuel, all four of North Carolina. He is predeceased by six siblings. Also surviving are his four children, Alex Blackburn and his fiancée, Susan Bour, of Berryville, Va., Coralyn Mangelinckx and her husband, Joe, of Londonderry, N.H., Nelson Blackburn and his wife, Kathy, of Charlotte, N.C., and Bradley Blackburn and his wife, Lydia, of Plainfield. There are eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

    A celebration of his life will be held at First Baptist Church of Barre Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions can be made to the Boy Scouts of America.

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