May 23, 1940 — Sept. 26, 2014
John Anthony Blackburn was born on May 23, 1940, in Westlake, Ore., to Raymond Blackburn and Pearl Balmer. John grew up in Astoria, Ore., and joined the Army in 1958.
He served in the infantry and Quartermaster Corps. Shortly after joining the military, he met and married Mary Angela O’Neal while stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Together they had two daughters and one son.
John retired after serving his country honorably for 20 years. In addition to serving stateside, John served in Vietnam, Korea, Germany and France during his career. He enjoyed sharing stories of his tours, highlighting the comical side of things as well as the challenges. John had a way of always finding the humor in any situation.
After retiring, John returned to his hometown of Astoria. He worked at Ocean Foods Cannery and Warrenton Lumber Mill until 1996. During this time, he met and married his current wife, Margaret Dyke. They moved to Colville, Wash., in 1997. They bought three acres and together worked hard to create a place that they both loved dearly.
John was known for his wealth of knowledge. It was said that there wasn’t anything that he couldn’t fix. He enjoyed traveling, restoring classic cars, woodworking and spending time with family and friends. John had a generous heart and was known to always lend a helping hand.
John passed away at his home on Sept. 26, 2014, from a long term illness due to exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam. He is preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Pearl; a brother, Wayne Blackburn; two sisters, Janelle Bartholemew and Jeanne Donovan; a half-sister, Casey Ann Prescott; and a stepsister, Sherry Valley.
John is survived by his wife, Margaret Blackburn; stepmother, Shirley Blackburn; half-sister, Kathy Arthur Bennett; stepbrother, Tommy Asteen; two daughters, Angela Kletzok and Donna Burkes; a son, John Blackburn Jr; two stepsons, Bill High and Craig High; and a stepdaughter, Shelley Putansu. John was a grandpa to 16 grandchildren, and great-grandpa to three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and many close friends.
A graveside service with military honors will be held at 10 a.m. Nov. 8 at the Knappa Prairie Cemetery. A celebration of life/potluck will follow at 1 p.m. at Shively Park in Astoria, Ore.