Billy “Tom” Blackwell
Billy “Tom” Blackwell was met by his father Albert, who passed when he was too young, and his mother Ruie, whom he dearly loved, in heaven on August 17th 2019 at 1:30am. Tom left this world from his home in Rogersville, Missouri, while surrounded by his loving family.
Tom is survived by his wife, Kathy (McPherson) Blackwell; his children, William Gregory Blackwell and his wife Natalie, Marianna Blackwell and her wife Lana Ambrose; Stepchildren, Shannon Burns and his wife Courtney, Shawn Burns and his wife Leann and Sherri Rogers; 3 step-grandchildren, Sasha Kay Rogers, Chainey Davis, and Ellis Burns; 1 step-great-grandson, Elijah Rogers; sisters Virginia Blackwell Fuller & Mary Brown Boston; step sister Gayle Blackwell, his Aunt Blanche Vallo, and many extended family and in-laws that loved him dearly, and of course his favorite gal, a 12 year old quarter horse named Star.
Tom was one of the last of his generation both born and raised in Comanche. He was the son of Albert Blackwell and Ruie Rebecca Marie (Williams) Blackwell born on October 15th , 1943. At an early age he was known for his speed, able to beat his mother Ruie home after being dropped off at school. Yet over the years he learned the value of education and excelled as a student. He also learned the value of hard work, sweeping floors for Nolan Combs at Comanche Body Works, the business he would later own with partner Jim Sanders.
In his youth Tom was also a somewhat avid roller-skater, often frequenting the roller-skating rink in Meridian Oklahoma, a small suburb of Comanche Oklahoma. It was there he caught the eye of a young girl named Gayle Revier, niece of the rink’s owner. The two kids fell in love, got married and would have two children, William Gregory Blackwell (Greg) and Marianna Blackwell (Mer). After spending their early years in Duncan Oklahoma, Tom would move his family south to Meridian.
Tom loved his home town and he loved its’people. As a volunteer fireman and the owner of a wrecker service, he was a first responder before there were first responders. He was also a member of the Comanche Jaycees. Comanche Body Works was often the Saturday morning gathering place to ‘Monday morning quarterback’ Friday nights’ football game. His daily routine rarely failed to include picking up lunch at Pannell’s followed by a few games of dominos with friends at the Comanche Fire Station.
Yet after years of replacing fenders, seeing two kids graduate from college, losing one wife but gaining another, Tom would call an end to Comanche Body Works and move to Rogersville Missouri. Retirement did not last long, however, and Tom began a new career in insurance adjusting; specifically handling claims arising from natural disasters. Over the years he traveled the country where he witnessed the aftermath of hurricanes Dennis in Florida, Katrina in Louisiana and Rita near Houston, helping those in need, a common theme throughout his life.
In 2010, Tom sustained a life altering stoke after undergoing surgery for an aortic aneurism. His recovery was only made possible by the incredible nurses who worked patiently and painstakingly to help him almost completely restore his speech, comprehension and motor skills. One nurse in particular, his speech pathologist, he nicknamed “Blue Eyes”, held a special place in his heart. He credited her patience, caring, and kind “blue eyes” for helping him recover so much of what he had lost. He often thanked God for placing her into his life.
Even though the stroke brought an end to his insurance adjusting days, his life continued to blossom through his role as a “Mary Kay Assistant” to his wife Kathy. He placed the orders, tracked inventory, and delivered much of the product. He was known far and wide through the world of Mary Kay as “Mr. Wonderful”, a pet name Kathy had given him. Tom truly was wonderful, as was displayed by his patient and kind demeanor. He taught us all, that truly, “most things don’t matter”.
Tom was diagnosed with stage four non-small cell lung cancer in April of this year. After a long life and a short, yet determined fight with cancer, God called him home. He was ready even if the rest of us were not.
Tom was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Ruie; two sisters, Pauline Wiseman (Dan) and Patricia Blackwell; and four brothers, Jesse Blackwell, Earl Blackwell, Bert Brown and Claud Blackwell (Juanita and Philip), and step-great-grandson, Ezra Rogers.
Services will be held 3 p.m, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 at Hillside Baptist Church in Springfield, Missouri.