I, William H Blackmer, have graduated from the school of life! I had a wonderful life. I had the fortune to be born to great parents, to marry an amazing woman with whom I had a beloved family, to enjoy good schooling, interesting and steady work, the comforts of life, a second loving wife, and a faith that guided me in the right direction. I believe I had the Lord’s guidance all my life.
I was born on March 18, 1929 in Inglewood California into a fantastic family: my Dad, William Henry Blackmer; my Mom, Lou Sharp; and my sister, Lillian. They were very loving; I had a happy childhood. We frequently went camping in the mountains or on the beach; this began my lifelong love of nature. I loved to camp and hike.
My last four years of high school were during World War II. I liked math and physics, and I was a member of ROTC. The war was over when I graduated, but I joined the Navy in 1946 and sailed halfway around the world during my two years in the Navy. I got to visit several foreign countries including China and Japan.
After that, I used the GI Bill to pay for my studies at the University of California at Berkeley. That’s where I met Shirley Beckstead Vanier, the great love of my life. We were married June 6, 1950. With Shirley’s help, I graduated with a BS degree and Highest Honors in Civil Engineering in 1954. Professional work started in Sacramento, then to Fresno, Los Angeles, and finally to Pasadena where I joined the firm of Montgomery Engineers. We were blessed with three children: our son Scott, daughter Diane, and son Robert. My work then took us to Nevada, where I was chief engineer for the Water District. Robert passed away after 9 years. Scott married Barbara while we still lived in Nevada; Diane married soon after, and we were delighted to become grandparents. Shirley and I moved back to Pasadena, then to Colorado and Alaska.
We enjoyed our time in Alaska. We liked the people, the scenery was fantastic, and the Church was a stabilizing influence in our lives. I had the privilege of being on a stake high council. I also was enjoying my career, managing large projects that gave 44 million people clean water while they visited or lived in Las Vegas, Alaska, and Concord. These projects also protected thousands of acres of wildlife habitat. My work then took us to Concord, California. We were glad to be back in the area where we were married and much closer to family. Between 1987 and 1990, I designed and taught Project Management to members of the firm and outside organizations, receiving Montgomery’s Outstanding Leadership and Service award.
When I retired, Shirley and I decided to explore our country and Canada in great detail. We took longer trips by land and plane, enjoyed them all, and delighted in visiting our family. As I got older, I took up writing personal histories and creating poems, especially at Christmas time. My beloved wife Shirley died when I was 80, and two years later I met a delightful woman, Janet Ollman, who consented to be my wife. Her love brought me out of my great sadness, and her health and nutrition knowledge made me much healthier.
I am preceded in passing by my parents and sister, my wife Shirley and son Robert, and my granddaughter Kara Campbell. I leave behind 2 children: Scott (Barbara) and Diane (Brad), 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren. I love them dearly and would like to watch them grow to adulthood, but I’ll have to watch them from my new surroundings (which is not a bad tradeoff). God bless all of you left behind.
As I traveled over hill and dale and lived in many, I was frequently asked which did I like best, if any. I answer truly that the best is where I am now; no sorrow. Because it’s a joy to be with our Father above, not here below.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 4th at 11:00 AM at the Copper Canyon Building located at 5349 West 9000 South, West Jordan. A viewing will be held one hour prior to the services. Interment to follow at Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East Dimple Dell Road, Sandy.
My beloved husband, I know that you are finally whole again. You are hearing all the lovely sounds in that new world. You are able to articulate the wonder of all you see. I will miss you, to be sure, but I am happy for you, and now I will move into another phase of life, as well. You now have a new land to explore, because you pretty-much saw most of this one while you lived in mortality.