Honoring the Life of Bernard Richard Blackburn, Sr.
Bernard Richard Blackburn, Sr. was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the late Marshall T. Blackburn and Flora (Bagley) Blackburn on April 1, 1933. As a child, he and his siblings (Marie and David) lived an active good life with their mother and father. It was a community Christmas party at Sewickley, PA where he met the love of his life. He married Frances D. Williams on June 4, 1952. Together they had six children whom they raised in both Pennsylvania and California.
For over 40 years Bernard worked in construction as a gifted Carpenter in the Carpenters Union of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania starting as an apprentice and then earning the title of journeyman. He was then transferred to Southern California Carpenters Local, where his work experience included large housing tracts and numerous commercial projects which included the Bonaventure Hotel and Los Angeles US Bank Twin Towers. In his early years, he did small contracting jobs on the side, which consisted of remodeling projects and room additions. Toward the end of his career, he was used as a foreman on many projects, until he was asked to go into partnership with Beardsworth Construction Company.
His skills and the quality of his workmanship spread beyond the southern California area. He was requested to oversee the remodeling of a five-unit project in Tacoma, WA. Returning to Pomona, CA, he oversaw the entire renovation of a 3.5-acre, 45,000 sq. ft. lumber warehouse, which was remodeled into a beautiful church facility. He was again requested in Tacoma, WA to completely remodel a condemned, one-bedroom house into a functional two-story, four-bedroom home. He traveled to Reserve, LA, just outside of New Orleans, to assist his daughter Rita in undertaking the task of relocating and renovating the First Black Catholic Church built in the river parishes. He later began the major remodel and management of a 8-unit project located in Tacoma, WA which was purchased by his son, Bernard Jr. The project consisted of remodeling a burned six-plex with a duplex in the rear.
He also was an entrepreneur. He opened “Fran’s Bait Shop” named after his devoted wife of 68 years. He partnered with his daughter Cheryl to open a café in the Dancing Waters Lounge in San Pedro, CA. And lastly, he teamed up with son in law Mark and Cheryl to open a discount store called “B&C” (Blackburn & Citron) in Pomona, CA. His pattern of hard work and leadership empowered his children to become the strong individuals that they became. His son Kim went on to become an interior designer, chef, and creative genius following in his father’s footsteps. Lori, a strong-willed trailblazer that completes any task and overcomes any obstacle. His baby girl, Lisa, an unsung customer service professional and caregiver. Her sensitive and compassionate leadership skills were keen to her constant career progression.
As busy as his career kept him, he always found time to enjoy pastimes with his children which included traveling, fishing, camping, horseshoes, shuffleboard…
On July 23, 2020 in Riverside, California, Bernard went home to be with the Lord.
He will forever be cherished and loved by his devoted wife, Frances; children, Bernard Blackburn, Jr. (Joyce), Cheryl Blackburn Citron (Mark), Rita Perrilloux (Steven), Kimmy Blackburn (Deceased), Lori Blackburn, and Lisa Gibson; sixteen grandchildren; a whole bunch of great and great great-grandchildren as well as many other family members and friends.
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