SIDNEY - Lewis A. Blackford, 72, of Powell, formerly of Sidney, passed away in Dublin, Ohio, June 20, 2013, on his 49th wedding anniversary to Judith (Davis) Blackford. She survives.
He was born April 2, 1941, in Shelby County, the son of the late Ray and Martha (Barnes) Blackford. Also surviving are three children and their spouses: Michael and Sarah Blackford, of Powell, Mitchell Blackford and Melissa Knarr, of Powell, and Megan (Blackford) and Tim O'Callaghan, of Dublin. He is also survived by four beloved grandchildren: Ella Blackford, Caiden and Morgan Blackford, and Melanie O'Callaghan. He is also survived by two siblings, sister Ruth Kline, of Fort Wayne, Ind., and brother John Blackford and wife, Julie, of Sidney.
He was preceded in death by a brother Paul.
Lew is a graduate of the Sidney High School class of 1959. Following his graduation, he earned a bachelor's degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Alpha. Blackford earned his master's degree from the University of Dayton and completed administrative studies at Wright State University, Dayton. He began his 33-year career in education as a business education teacher at Sidney High School. He also served as a wrestling and football coach and later became a guidance counselor at the school. He then became assistant principal at Sidney High School. Between 1976 and 1979 he accepted the principalship of a Piqua elementary school. He returned to the Sidney City Schools a short time later to become principal of Bridgeview Middle School. Blackford's pathway to help young people led him to assume a variety of administrative positions, including the Sidney City School's director of business opportunities and finally to a four-year term as superintendent of the Sidney City Schools (1992-96), the only Sidney High School graduate ever to hold the post. After Blackford retired from his role as superintendent, he became the executive director of the West Ohio Development Council, a job he held for 13 years. He then served as the interim executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
Lew touched many lives, cared about the community, and planned for the future through his memberships and service on many boards and committees: He was a member of Sidney's First United Methodist Church, trustee of the Dayton, Ohio public television stations, president of the South West Ohio Instructional Technology Association, campaign chairman of the Shelby County United Way, vice chairman of the Shelby Jobs Training Partnership Act, vice chairman of the Special Education Regional Resource Center - a responsibility that led his influence into 11 western Ohio counties - chairman of the Edison State Community College Board of Trustees, and chairman of the countywide tax campaign for the Shelby County Commissioners.
An avid golfer, he was proud of his holes-in-one at Safari Golf Club, Kinsale Golf Club, and Tree Links Golf Course. He enjoyed volunteering at Safari Golf Club, Muirfield Country Club, and The Memorial Tournament. He created the Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor and was honored as an inductee in 2003 for his years of community service and leadership.
He was also proud of his Miami Valley League wrestling championship, the 30-0 Sidney High School varsity football season, and being an 83-pint blood donor.
Lew will be most remembered by his family for his kindness, compassion, story-telling, and genuine caring toward everyone with whom he came in contact. His dedication to his family and friends was second to none. He was a friend to all.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Cromes Funeral Home, 302 S. Main Ave., Sidney. A private family funeral service will be held on Monday morning, June 24, followed with a burial at Graceland Cemetery. A gathering of family and friends to celebrate Lew's life will also be held on Monday from noon to 2 p.m. at the American Legion, 1265 Fourth Ave. in Sidney. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to Sidney City Schools Hall of Honor or Wilson Hospice in memory of Lewis Blackford. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Condolences and fond memories may be expressed to the Blackford family at the Cromes funeral home website, www.cromesfh.com.
Cromes Funeral Home Inc
302 S. Main Ave. Sidney, OH 45365
Published in Sidney Daily News on June 20, 2013