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J. Russell Blackburn

August 14, 1925 ~ October 12, 2021 (age 96)



John Russell Blackburn age 96 of Spartanburg, South Carolina and formerly  of Williamson and Huntington, West Virginia died Tuesday, October 12, 2021 in the Summit Hills Skilled Nursing Facility in Spartanburg.

Born August 14, 1925 in Williamson, West Virginia, he was the third of five children of the late Effie Jane Bevins and Sidney “Sid” Blackburn. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Ovid V. Blackburn and Billy S. Blackburn and his sisters, Lois Szekely and Phyllis “Toni” Adkins.

Russell was a 1943 graduate of Williamson High School and went on to serve his country during World War II in the United States Navy in the South Pacific. He later graduated from Roanoke National Business College in 1950 with a Degree in Accounting and Business and began a career with Persinger Supply Company which spanned 43 years, retiring as Executive  Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer. Following his retirement, he continued to serve on the Persinger Board of Directors for seven years.

He served as Treasurer of the G.W.C. Land Company, was a Director for the National Bank of Commerce and the Key Centurion Bankshares, and after the merger, served on the Board of Bank One West Virginia. He also served on the Advisory Board of the Community Trust Bank.

Russell was a life-long Baptist having the honor of serving in two churches, First Baptist Church of Williamson and Fifth Avenue Baptist Church of Huntington, in numerous capacities.

He was blessed to have married the love of his life, the former, Anna Lois Varney on January 21, 1950, enjoying 55 years together prior to her death on September 26, 2005.

Surviving are his son and daughter-in-law, J. Russell Blackburn II and wife Diane, and his daughter, Launa Kay Blackburn, all of Spartanburg, South Carolina; as well as nieces and nephews living in several states.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 1 o’clock in the Chapel of the Fifth Avenue Baptist Church with the Reverend Eric Porterfield officiating. Private Entombment will be in the Abbey of Remembrance in Woodmere Memorial Park,

The family will greet friends immediately following the service at the church.

In keeping with the longstanding Blackburn Family relationship, in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Fernwood Baptist Church, Post Office Box 7058, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29304 or Habitat for Humanity, 2270 South Pine Street, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29304.

For the safety of those attending the family has respectfully request that masks be worn, and social distancing be observed.

The Padgett and King Mortuary is in charge of arrangements and an online guest registry is available at


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