The Obit For Bill Blackwell

William R. 'Bill' Blackwell
Wednesday August 24, 2011

W. R. “Bill” Blackwell, age 84 of Rowlett, Texas, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, August 22, 2011. He was born to the late Joseph Vernon Blackwell and wife, Katherine, on January 13, 1927, in Lockhart, Texas. Bill graduated from Lockhart High School in 1944, and enlisted in the US Navy where he served as an Aviation Electronics Technician until 1946 when he was honorably discharged. He married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Rheinlander, on February 8, 1948.

A combination of great athletic and intellectual abilities led Bill to pursue both a degree in Civil Engineering and a career in professional baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization simultaneously. His determination and passion resulted in success in both the classroom and on the field. In 1955, he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M in College Station. He also excelled in municipal government, serving as City Manager in Freeport, Galveston, and Lubbock during the 1960s and 1970s. He received national recognition for his crisis preparedness and response management during Hurricane Carla, a category 5 storm which struck the Texas coast in September of 1961. He was also recognized for his outstanding leadership as he guided the City of Lubbock through the recovery after a massive tornado which devastated much of the city in May of 1970. He was later invited to return to Texas A&M to establish and teach a program in urban development and city management. He left Texas A&M as a tenured professor to manage a major engineering firm in Dallas. Then, at age 55, when most are considering their approaching retirement, Bill was seeking a new challenge. He established his own engineering firm, Blackwell & Associates from which he retired in 1989.

Over the years, Bill was a member of several professional and civic organizations including serving as President of the Texas City Managers Association and being a Paul Harris Fellow Rotarian. Bill’s love for his family, this country, the great game of baseball, and the Texas Aggies were woven together with his accomplishments to define a life filled with love, joy and laughter.

Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Joyce, and their children: daughter, Diane Blackwell; daughter, Cheryl Spencer and husband, Randy; and son, David Blackwell and wife, Laure. As well as five grandchildren: Courtney Gould and husband, Ronnie; Matt Spencer and wife, Lindsey; Brianna Blackwell; Shayla Blackwell; and Reece Blackwell; two great-grandchildren: Caitlyn Gould and Addisyn Gould; and sister, Ada Gee of Early, TX.

Services will be held 10:30am Saturday, August 27, 2011, at Arapaho Road Baptist Church. A procession to the graveside service at Restland Memorial Park will immediately follow. Fellowship and refreshments will be provided back at the church after the interment (972-495-2223). Flowers may be sent to Rest Haven Funeral Home-Rowlett Chapel through Friday, August 26th or to the church on Saturday morning, August 27th.