WILLIAM (BILL) ANDERSON BLACKBURN William (Bill) Anderson Blackburn of Wilmington died Thursday, December 5, 2013 after an extended illness. Born in Opelika, Alabama March 3, 1925 to John Anderson Blackburn and Vera Aleen Blackburn, he grew up in Auburn Alabama and entered the Air Corps in 1943. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Corps and served as a P-51 fighter pilot in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during and after WWII. Mr. Blackburn flew 11 combat missions and many peacetime missions while in the reserves. He achieved the rank of First Lieutenant and was honored for his service in the military. Mr. Blackburn obtained a B.S. and later a Masters degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Miami. He completed coursework towards a Ph.D in Organic Chemistry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His career as a research chemist and inventor earned him 13 patents. He was a key member of the technical team that developed Astroturf and worked on innovations using nonwoven textiles. An avid tennis player, Bill Blackburn helped found the Chapel Hill Tennis Club and was ranked 2nd in North Carolina as a player in his 70's. Mr. Blackburn was well known and loved in the Chapel Hill and Wilmington communities. He was a loyal member of the Quiet Birdmen, served on the Inland Greens/Cedar Ridge Community Board, was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and served as a docent at the Latimer House. As a storyteller he frequently held court, sharing flying stories, jokes, or tales of truth and fiction. Occasionally, a bugle was played badly. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Joe and Gilmer Blackburn. Mr. Blackburn is survived by his wife, Anne Blackburn, sister Christine Danner, seven children, Cathy Barnes, Teresa Miska and husband George, Peter Blackburn and wife Linda, Susan Newman, Tim Blackburn and wife Debbie, Phyllis Barbour and husband Steve, Carleton Davis and husband John, along with 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. "Grandpa Bill" treasured his family, and loved visits with his children and grandchildren. The family wishes to thank the community at Inland Greens/Cedar Ridge for their devotion and friendship. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Lower Cape Fear Hospice Society or Church of the Servant. Family visitation will be Sunday, December 8 from 6-8 P.M. at Andrews Mortuary, 1617 Market Street, Wilmington, NC. The memorial service will be Monday, December 9 at 2 P.M. at Church of the Servant, 4925 Oriole Drive, also in Wilmington. Condolences to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com Andrews Market Street Chapel
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Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8, 2013