William Henry Blackwell
July 8, 1940 – May 31, 2021
William Henry "Bill" Blackwell passed away peacefully at the age of 80 on May 3rd, 2021. He entered peacefully into the realm of heaven at his home surrounded by his family. Bill was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte (Johnson) Blackwell; their two sons William Henry II and Jonathon Edward; (grand)daughter Ashley; brother Ray (and wife Sybil); sisters Pat, Evie (Pennie), and Julie; grandchildren Alexyss, Kitty, Xander, Aphrodite, Triston; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his youngest son, Thomas James (TJ-2015), brother William Robert (2007); sister Janie (1996); and grandparents Theits (1993) and Clarence H. (1965) Ryan who raised him as their own.
Bill was born in Pueblo, CO in 1940 to William Edward and Corabelle (White) Blackwell. His father was drafted into the Army Air Force for WWII when he was an infant, his brother Robert was born in 1941, William E and Corabelle divorced sometime after. Both boys were loved and raised by their grandparents Thetis and Henry Ryan (Ma & Pa Ryan). Bill's dad would remain a constant part of his life.
Bill joined the United States Navy in 1957 where he served for 21 years. During his Navy career Bill served on numerous USN ships, destroyers, aircraft carriers, ammunition supply ships. Bill crossed the international dateline 2 times, served tours in Spain, the Middle East, Japan and Vietnam, gaining a lifetime of experiences most never had a chance to enjoy. When Bill first joined the Navy his rate was cook, then later attended schools in Great Lakes and became an Electrician's Mate. The Navy would also take Bill on four tours of combat duty during the Vietnam War, including one as a supply boat crewman supporting operations on the rivers of Vietnam, one of the more dangerous Naval assignments "in country".
Against the odds, Bill managed to do what many didn't and come home safe after four tours in Vietnam. He finished his active duty career serving in the Police force on the USN base in Adak, AK, where he retired in May 1978.
Bill and Charlotte met on May 25th, 1969 and they married in 1973. Bill and Charlotte had three sons, William H Blackwell II was born in 1974 in Oakland, CA; Jonathon Edward was born in 1976 in San Francisco, CA; and Thomas James was born in 1978 in Long Beach, CA. The family moved to southern CA after Bill retired; a life that would never be too far from many ships, the sea, or the US Navy. He spent many of those years working for TODD Shipyard in San Pedro, CA.
In 1958 Bill moved to WA and would take a couple of private sector jobs in line with his Naval Electricians training before settling in Port Orchard, WA in 1986 when he began his career with the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. After starting initially in shop 51, Bill moved around to several assignments, endured a RIF layoff that lasted about a year, then returned to PSNS as one of the evening shift lead crew members at the PSNS Power Station. He worked there until retiring for the second time in December 2013. Twenty-one years at PSNS brought Bill's total years in service to his country to 42, more than half of his life.
Retirement would unfortunately begin with the passing of Bill's youngest son, Thomas, after a brief and intense fight with extremely aggressive Melanoma in 2015, a loss the family had just started to put behind them when Bill's cancer was discovered. The family asks that you hold both of them in your prayers as they are reunited in heaven.
Arrangements are being made for burial services with military honors, the date is yet to be determined.