Mary Blackburn was the first born of Spiro and Katherine Pandora, both natives of Yugoslavia. She was born April 9, 1924 in San Pedro, California. She attended Catholic schools until attending San Pedro High School where she graduated in 1943.
She determined early in life that she wanted a career in nursing, having been impressed during a hospital stay for a tonsillectomy by the actions of a young student nurse. She trained to become a registered nurse at Los Angeles General Hospital and completed her training in 1946, and spent several years at the University of California Hospital in Berkeley, California.
She began a career as a U.S. Navy nurse in 1949, serving at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington where she met her future husband, Ben Blackburn while his ship was in Bremerton for an overhaul period. After a short period in San Diego, she was selected for training as a Naval Flight Nurse and received training at Gunter Field in Alabama. She was then assigned to Moffett Field, San Jose, California where she began her duties evacuating patients by air from Alaska.
Mary and Ben Blackburn were married when he returned from his second tour of duty off the coast of Korea in February 1952. Upon his release from active duty in the Fall of 1952 they returned to his home in Atlanta, Georgia where he attended Emory University School of Law.
Mary was an avid golfer, taking the game up seriously when she and Ben became active members of Druid Hills Golf Club in 1975. She served as Chairperson of the Ladies Golf Association while at Druid Hills. After she and Ben moved in 1993 to the Bent Tree Community, Jasper, GA, she served again as Chairman of the Ladies Gold Association. While a member of the Georgia Senior Golfers Association she won the Low Net Ladies Championship, played at Sea Palms Golf Resort at St. Simmons Island, Georgia in October 2005 at the age of 81.
Their family life as parents began with the birth of a son, Michael James Blackburn in December 1952. He was followed by a second son, Robert Bentley Blackburn in June 1954, a daughter, Kathryn Antonia Blackburn (Boyce) in October 1955, and the last born, a son, David Thomas Blackburn in October 1956.
Mary enjoyed a family of eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. She was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Family in Jasper.
Mary passed away, at the age of 94, on June 10, 2018. She is survived by her husband, Benjamin Bentley Blackburn III of Jasper; sons and daughters-in-law, Michael James and Juneam Blackburn of Reno, Nevada, Robert Bentley Blackburn of Oxford, David Thomas and Beth Blackburn of Dalton; daughter and son-in-law, Kathy and Ron Boyce of Cumming; grandchildren, Olivia Blackburn of Loganville, William Blackburn of Jefferson, Benjamin Blackburn IV of Resaca, Matthew Blackburn of Memphis, Tennessee, Lara Carrillo of Marietta, Allison Wilcox of Cumming, Anna Ryder of Smyrna, Monica Diaz of Atlanta; 11 great-grandchildren; and several other relatives.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 14, 2018 at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Family with George Yandell officiating. Inurnment will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Georgia National Cemetery.
Arrangements are entrusted to the staff of Roper Funeral Home & Crematory in Jasper.
Online condolences can be made at www.roperfuneralhome.com .