James Eldridge Blackwell, son of the late James Algie Blackwell and Mattie Jones Blackwell Hicks, was born in Brunswick County, Virginia, on February 18, 1955.
James, affectionately called “Junnie” by his family and “Brass Cat” by many friends, accepted Christ as his Savior at an early age and joined the Little Mount Baptist Church. He attended the Brunswick County Public Schools and later moved to Philadelphia, PA, where he was employed in commercial laundry service, and then to Pennsauken, NJ, where he worked in transportation at A.C. Morris Trucking Company; later he returned to Virginia where he sometimes worked in logging until he became totally disabled.
James’ sisters, nieces and nephews were the joy of his life. Being the only boy, born in the middle of seven sisters, he became and remained the family “brat.” After the death of both parents, he promoted himself to family patriarch; but when the sisters said “boo,” he would mumble a smart inaudible comment and retreat outdoors or to another room. At times, when he thought he was “conning” his sisters, they were pleasantly agreeing while he didn’t have a clue that they still did things their way. He loved life and the outdoors. He had a passion for fishing, and hunting with his three best friends: Wallace Taylor (Gator), who predeceased him; Leon Craig; and his dog. James believed in thrifty medical care. Many times, when the medics came to pick up the late, beloved Mrs. Frances Taylor, James would quietly hop in the back of the ambulance with her, and off they went. He would piggyback to the hospital so often that whenever the medics came for Mrs. Frances, they would inquire about the whereabouts of James. His favorite song was “One Day at A Time,” and when he sang it and “Rough Side of the Mountain,” he acted as if he were surrounded by the paparazzi. As quietly as it was kept, his singing was quite annoying, but oh how we long to hear him sing now. James has left his family with a legacy of humorous, treasured memories to be shares from generation to generation.
James was predeceased by his parents and his baby sister, Sheila Blackwell. He leaves a legacy of love and cherished memories to: six devoted sisters, Yvonne Leftwich (Arthur) of Brooklyn, New York, JoAnne Blackwell of Laurel Springs, New Jersey, Sadie Blackwell of Alberta, Virginia, Glorine Blackwell of Blackstone, Virginia, Maxine Blackwell of Blackstone, Virginia, and Cynthia Morgan of Wind Gap, Pennsylvania; nine nephews, Gregory Leftwich, Arthur Leftwich, III, Christopher Leftwich, Kris Winborne, Michael Leftwich, Jakel Meredith, Lakia Lamont Blackwell, Isaac Jones, and Shannon Blackwell; three nieces, Lisa Campbell, Demetria Freeman, and Crystal Crowley; two aunts, Nancy Fox and Barbara Wilson; a host of grand nephews, grand nieces, cousins, extended family and friends; and a very dear and close confidante, Barbara Ann Pritchard.
Although he suffered, he bore his suffering silently and with patience. On January 6, 2011, while quietly at home, peace and contentment surrounded him as he entered into eternal rest.
He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Funeral Services Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at W.E. Hawkes & Son Funeral Home Chapel, Blackstone with private burial.
W.E. Hawkes & Son Funeral Home of Blackstone in charge of arrangements.