Carl Blacketer


Carl Blacketer

April 29, 2004
Carl Houston Blacketer, 80, of Summer Hill, died Friday morning, April 23, 2004, at Illini Hospital in Pittsfield.>/p>

He was born Sept. 21, 1923 near Rockport, to the late Marvin Houston and Thelma Irene Chaplin Blacketer. He married Marjorie Grimsley May 29, 1942 in Palmyra, Mo., and she survives.>/p>

Also surviving are one daughter, Thelma Haughey (fiancée' Jack McGraw) of New Salem; four sons, Carl Blacketer (wife Wanda) of rural Pittsfield, James R. Blacketer (wife Darlene) of Coatsburg, Daniel I. Blacketer of Baylis, Preston J. Blacketer (wife Linda) of Barry; 13 grandchildren; seven great-granchildren; one great-great-grandson; three sisters, Ilah Garner of Palmyra, Mo., Donna Coffey (fiancée Dwayne Hibbard) of Baylis and Marva Hurst (husband Bill) of Pittsfield; one brother, Robert Blacketer (wife Lynda) of Summer Hill; and several nieces and nephews.>/p>

He was preceded in death by his parents; and one sister, Ella Mae Blacketer.>/p>

Mr. Blacketer was a veteran of the U.S. Navy serving in World War II and received the Bronze Star of Valor and was a member of the Pittsfield American Legion and the Pike County VFW. He was a past employee of Kamar Buildings, Callender Construction, and Brown Shoe Company, all in Pittsfield. He loved music and loved playing and listening to country music. He was an avid sportsman. He also was an animal lover and loved his dogs. He was a member of the New Hartford Christian Church where he was a deacon. >/p>

Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, at the New Hartford Christian Church with the Rev. Scott DeCamp officiating. Burial was in Samuel-Taylor Cemetery near Rockport, with military rites conducted by Pittsfield American Legion Post. Visitation was from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Airsman-Hires Funeral Home in Pittsfield. Memorials may be made to the New Hartford Christian Church c/o the funeral home. Condolences may be left for the family online at

                      A TRIBUTE BY CARL'S BROTHER BOB 

This is the story of an ordinary man who loved his family and his God.

During WW II he served with the Naval Armed Guard, where he earned the Bronze
Star for his efforts. He tells of sitting off the beach at Normandy, the ship
loaded down with bombs and ammunition, trucks loaded with ammunition strapped to
the decks, the ship sitting there shrouded in fog while the Luftwaft planes
fired randomly trying to find them. Of the tracers zipping by so close he had to
take cover. And of course they could not shoot back because that would give away
their position. All they could do was sit there atop that ticking bomb, knowing
that one glancing blow from a stray bullet could strike one of them down or blow
the ship itself to fragments. But he didn't fire back. He did his duty.

For those of you who do not know the Naval Armed Guard were small groups of
sailors, perhaps half a dozen to as many as 28,  who served aboard the Liberty
Ships, supply ships which carried troops and supplies to Europe and were
credited with winning the war. The life expectancy of a Liberty Ship was one
voyage. The ships were armed with whatever weapons could be found, from
antiquated outdated guns to telephone poles painted to look like guns to foil
the German submarines, their greatest nemesis. They were captained and crewed by
Merchant Marines, and the naval personnel had to be there to protect them as it
is against the rules of war to have civilians manning weapons of war. Their
losses were as high, if not higher, than that of the Marines who stormed the
beaches at Normandy. 

One incident stands out in my mind that shows the character of the man he was.
One hot summers day on returning home from town he noticed a car sitting
alongside the road near where he turned off to go down the back road to his
house. There were a mother and father, their little daughter and the grandmother
sitting in the car wondering what to do out here in the middle of nowhere. He
told them the first thing to do was to get them in out of this heat and took
them down to his house here where they could get in under the air conditioning.
I guess at this point that I should mention the family happened to be black here
in what is basically an all white county. They had stopped in town to see about
repairs. I do not know at which repair facility, but had not been treated in the
most friendly manner and had gone on in the car making it to where he found

Once he had everyone settled he went back to town with this gentleman and the
treatment was subtly different this time. The car was towed in and it was
determined that a part would have to be ordered and the car could not be
repaired until the next day. No problem he said, you can just spend the night
with us. To the little girl he was grandpa, there is just no other way to
describe it. They all had a pleasant visit together, the next day the car was
fixed and they were on their way. 

I might add that sometime later he was in Columbia where he had gone to the VA
hospital and stopped in to see the family as they had insisted he do. Somehow
they had found out it was his birthday and had fixed a really nice dinner and a
cake for him. He was really touched by that. He never expected any reward when
he lent them a hand. He was just doing what was right. 

Some years ago he and his wife came home to find their home burned to the
ground. The neighbors, and by neighbors I mean people from miles around for this
is a rural area, they rallied round. One neighbor gave them a house to live in
rent free for as long as they wanted. His wife said they were given so much
furniture that they simply ran out of any place to put it. He was known as dad
and grandpa to countless children and their children and his heart was big
enough to love them all. These things I write in tribute to my brother who died
this morning, hoping that I can be half the man he was. 

He died at age 80 at 10:35 AM on Friday April 23. I hope you don't mind me
including the tribute to him. 


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