According to his son-in-law, Don Shehorn, Blackburn's early years were consumed with the typical trials of an early Ozark family. Three members of his family were struck down prematurely when he was just a boy. "He very well could be the only man in this generation who rode a covered wagon, at the age of 10 with his parents, seeking a healthier climate for his mother. He was no stranger to hardship," Shehorn said.
Blackburn's story was one of overcoming obstacles with tenacity in surviving 90 years before succumbing to cancer. His professional career spanned 60 years. His varied interests were successful ventures in the automobile business, construction business and the political arena.
He was the youngest county judge in the state of Arkansas. He served nine years as county judge in Fulton County. He spent 61 years in the automotive business. He was a franchised dealer for Ford, American Motors, Pontiac, Cadillac and GMC. His dealerships were in Little Rock, Mammoth Spring, West Plains and, most recently, Thayer, where he operated Doyle Blackburn Chevrolet-Oldsmobile from 1973 until his retirement in 2001 at the age of 86.
Blackburn was well known in the area for the construction of roads, dams, powerlines and ponds. He operated Power Line and Substation Construction Company and Blackburn Whiteside Construction Company which built highways in the immediate area.
Shehorn said Blackburn's interests extended beyond local enterprise through his participation in the Mammoth Spring Masonic Lodge, Order of Eastern Star and Alcoholics Anonymous, and he was a major supporter in the development of the Thayer Country Club.
"With all these varied adventures, he became a family man, a thankful son, treasured brother, faithful friend, loving husband, devoted father, doting grandfather and a cherished great-grandfather. We, his family, have a lasting legacy upon which to build our future, thanks to him," Shehorn said.
Funeral services were Aug. 19 at Carter Funeral Home. Burial was in the Thayer Cemetery.