Obituary for Cecil Ernest Blackwell
With deep sadness we announce the passing of Cecil Blackwell of Chelmsford, ON. Cec, lovingly known as Spark, passed away January 8, 2018, aged 96, peacefully and surrounded by his family.
Cecil was born on December 6, 1921 to Richard and Elsie Blackwell of Brower Township, Cochrane, ON. He had a full and happy childhood in Cochrane. His father built a cottage on Silver Lake and it is there he first met Catherine, aged 3 to his aged 9. Story tells that Catherine's mother, Mrs Carter always thought Cec was quite special because he'd chop wood for her. He went on to Queen’s University and eventually become a teacher. In 1944, at 23, he enlisted in the Navy and was posted to HMCS Bowmanville where he served as a Seaman and Gunnar. Cec returned to Cochrane after the war and with delight rediscovered Catherine, now all grown up. They married and struggled to farm at Silver Lake. But as luck would have it, he was offered a position in a one room school in Brower and found his calling. In 1956 Cec moved on to New Liskeard where he taught at the New Liskeard Public School, and in 1958 became principal and teacher at Haileybury Public School for 18 years. He finished his career as Superintendent of Special Education with the North East District School Board where he served until he retired in 1987.
Cecil is predeceased by his loving wife Catherine Hart Blackwell. They celebrated 68 years of rich and happy marriage. He is also survived by his beloved younger brother Bun. Cec and Catherine had 5 children: Sparkie (Garfield) MacVeigh, Dick (Nancy) and Bess Blackwell (David Pearson), Rory Blackwell, and Andrew (Bett) Blackwell. He is also survived by 6 grandchildren: Frances MacVeigh (Ramon Villa), Ed MacVeigh (Sheri), Nilgiri, Adrian and Fraser Pearson, Christina Blackwell, and 5 great-grandchildren.
Cec believed in a life of service. His creed was that a person should be passionate. He was Mayor of Haileybury from 1976-1980. He played bagpipes in the Branch 33 Legion Pipe Band acting as Pipe Major for over 45 years, then continued with the Sudbury Pipe Band when the couple moved to Chelmsford. He was a lifetime member of the Legion and the Association for Community Living; also a lifelong and active member of the United Church of Canada. He mentored young people. He tried to live by example. In Haileybury, former students still express fond memories of him and post tributes of admiration and respect. In retirement Cec and Catherine travelled around around North America and saw the world, including an epic train journey on the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Beijing.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 11 am, St. Stephen’s United Church, 137 Charlotte Street, Chelmsford, ON at 11:00 am. Refreshments will be held after the service. Because travel in January is uncertain, the family will also host an open house for all extended family and friends on August long weekend, a celebration of life and where Cec and Kay's ashes will be jointly scattered. All are welcome: RSVP email@example.com for upcoming details.