Mack Owen Blackburn

January 22, 1921September 6, 2019

Mack found his calling in aeronautical engineering. After taking classes at Ohio State University, he moved to Dayton, Ohio and was hired as a Chief Test Engineer for Aeroproducts, a propeller division of General Motors Corporation.

Mack met the love of his life, Helen Comstock Morris, while attending dances regularly held at the Dayton YMCA. Because of her tall, graceful bearing, Mack called her Queenie. When the United States entered WWII, Mack enlisted in the US Navy and stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes. Mack contributed to the war effort with his engineering skills at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, designing and testing air craft propellers. When Helen accepted a position in New York City to work for NCR (which later became IBM) Mack pursued her, surprising her at work wearing his naval uniform and proposed. Later, they were married December 21, 1946 in Christ Church Cathedral in Dayton, Ohio.

After the war, Mack resumed his career with General Motors. Using his propeller-designing experience from Wright Patterson, Mack developed and patented a new propeller for General Motors in 1957, improving the strength and resiliency of hollow propellers blades.

In 1961, when General Motors merged Aeroproducts with Allison Transmission, Mack moved his family of 5 girls to Indianapolis where he worked at Allison until his retirement.

Mack loved airplanes, motorcycles, and Corvettes. In 1956 he was a crew member for his friend Duke Dinsmore, driving Car 64, the Shannon Buick Special, in the Indianapolis 500. He enjoyed many hobbies including motorcycle rodeos, fly fishing, go kart racing, bicycling, watch making, and building and flying radio-controlled airplanes.

Mack was a kind and generous man, who modeled fairness and integrity. Mack always helped others generously and graciously. Donations may be made in his honor to Second Helpings, Gleaners Food Bank, or Indianapolis Humane Society.

Mack is survived by his wife, 5 daughters, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. He will be loved and missed.


  • Visitation Saturday, September 14, 2019
  • Funeral Service Saturday, September 14, 2019

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