Robert J. “Blackie” Blackburn, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, January 3, 2020 following a brief, acute illness.
Blackie was born on January 3, 1953 and raised in Joliet, IL. He was the third of eight children born to Thomas and Rita (nee Hasse) Blackburn. He attended St. Patrick Grade School and was a 1971 graduate of Joliet Catholic High School.
As a young man, he worked for both Wilhelmi Distributors and Radakovich Liquor and Beverage Distributors as a delivery driver to businesses in and around the Joliet area. Inspired by Joliet Police Officer “Stretch” McGann, Blackie applied for and was accepted as a candidate to the Police Training Institute in 1983. Following his successful completion, he became a Joliet Police Officer, serving the community for 28 years. When the City of Joliet introduced N.O.P.T. neighborhood-oriented policing team, Blackie was pleased to be assigned to the St. Pats Neighborhood. It was the area he grew up in and was personally familiar with, knowing most of the residents on a first name basis. In 1984 Blackie married the love of his life, soulmate and best friend, Catherine (nee Yasko). Together they not only built a wonderful life with their two children but seized every opportunity for adventure which included extensive travel abroad.
He was social, outgoing, a prankster, and a source of strength to all those he loved. He was caring, funny, selfless, often irreverent and met great challenges head on. He loved Joliet and adored his family. He loved good food, good drink, the Beatles, John Wayne, the Fighting Irish, the Chicago Bears and was proud of his Irish heritage. He visited Ireland 25 times, adopting the town of Newbridge as his second home. When in Newbridge, he could be found sitting at a quiet table reading his Irish newspapers and sipping a Guinness at his favorite spot, The Winning Post. Blackie fully embraced all the good this world had to offer. He will be missed beyond measure.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Rita; and sister, Patty Blackburn.
He leaves behind his loving wife, Catherine, with whom he recently celebrated 35 magical, wonderful years together; sons, Jason (Kim) and Gabriel; sisters, Mary (Bill) Bernhard, Jean (Mark) Ksiazak and Nancy Blackburn; brothers, Tom (Chris), Larry (Vicki) and Tim (Kathy) Blackburn; mother-in-law, Marian Yasko; sisters-in-law, Joy Yasko and Sue (Benita Benigni) Yasko; as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and friends.
Please omit flowers. Donations in Blackie’s name to the charity of your choice would be appreciated.
In accordance with Blackie's wishes, his body was received by the Anatomical Gift Association.
A celebration of Blackie’s life will begin on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at Tezak Funeral Home, 1211 Plainfield Road, Joliet with a gathering period from 12:00 noon until the time of service at 1:00 p.m. The service will be officiated by Fr. Chris Groh followed by words of remembrance. The celebration will continue at The Moran Athletic Club immediately following the service where the family will receive relatives and friends. During this time please continue to share stories, have a drink in Blackie’s memory and sign the family register.