John Melvin Blackwell
Our beloved John Melvin Blackwell, born June 17, 1934, aged 87, passed away peacefully on March 27, 2022. A long-time resident of Beaumont, Texas, he was the son of Melvin and Melwood Blackwell, who preceded him in death, as did his sister Judy Blackwell.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Linda Gail Blackwell; his daughters, Kate Blackwell Butchofsky and Alice Blackwell Hamilton; sons, David Blackwell, Jerry Blackwell and Ricky Blackwell; sons-in-law, Bob Butchofsky and Ken Hamilton; daughter-in-law, Kristi Blackwell; and his cherished grandchildren, Kathryn and Bobby Butchofsky, Luke and Keely Hamilton, Taylor Blackwell and his spouse, Haley. He is also survived by his brothers, Randy and Happy Blackwell and their families and other extended family members and many dear friends.
John was known by many people across the Beaumont area and state of Texas. To his family, he was Dad, Daddy, Johnny and Papa John. To most of his friends, he was Big John or Captain Snapper. Once, Bob Hope referred to him as a Tall Drink of Water, during a concert. Other friends called him that, as well.
John was born and grew up in Beaumont, Texas, the oldest of 3 brothers and a sister. John and his siblings grew up very quickly and, as the oldest child, he had a big role in helping raise the family, including learning how to cook. A skill that he honed and enjoyed over the course of his life. All 3 of the Blackwell boys were good looking and strong as well as excellent athletes and their sister was a very talented musician. One of John’s first jobs was a newspaper boy and his pet myna bird rode on his handlebars and whistled at the girls along his route.
John graduated from Beaumont High School. During that time, he excelled in track, while winning state championships in pole vaulting and setting two Texas records in track. He excelled in many other sports and was asked to catch batting practice for the Beaumont Exporters professional baseball team. He ended up being awarded a full scholarship in Track and Field to the University of Texas.. John was training for the 1956 Olympics when, during practice, he unfortunately broke his back pole vaulting. He was unable to compete in those games but his track relay team went on to compete in Melbourne, Australia.
In 1958, John married Mary “Sug” Seewald, a Beaumont native and, together they had 6 children, John, Kate, Alice, David, Jerry and Ricky over their 29 year marriage. Over many years they enjoyed family beach trips, fishing, hunting, shrimping adventures and ski trips to Colorado. Family was always very important to John, and he liked nothing more than taking friends and family out for fishing trips in the Gulf. He was so very proud of his children and grandchildren and the door was always open to friends – that way he could keep an eye out and be with everyone.
In 1958, John began a career in insurance. Then in 1963, he transitioned to the real estate business, where he was one of the first homebuilders to begin building energy efficient homes, buying and selling land, developing sub-divisions, apartments, office buildings and houses, in and around Beaumont and throughout the state of Texas. He brought the Beaumont Hilton and the Plaza National Bank to Beaumont. The Beaumont Enterprise named him Outstanding Businessman of the Year.
While real estate started to turn in the 1980’s John began Beaumont Warehouse and Trucking, then JMB Trucking and Warehousing with his son, Ricky..
John and Linda Gail Harris married in 1993 and have shared a loving life, filled with numerous dogs, family and beach time, boats and fishing adventures.
One of his most proud achievements was starting Gulf Coast Conservation Association, which was later named Coast Conservation Association with chapters around the United States. He held a National Board seat and lifetime membership and was honored with the Gulf Coast Conservation Association Man of the Year award and Sportsman Man of the Year award. He was also appointed by the late Honorable Judge Joe Fisher to the Board of the Big Thicket, as a commissioner.
One of the keys to John’s longevity was that he lived everyday with an attitude of when the going gets tough the tough get going. He lived by the Golden Rule and was a kind and generous person to many. It was easy for him to go out of his way for a friend, but John routinely helped acquaintances or strangers or anyone down on their luck. He has passed down much of his philosophy to those he loved – whether related to athletics, academics, or career. The family can’t begin to express how much we will miss John. We also know he led a wonderful life, and we celebrate his life and will continue his legacy in all that we do. We pray, as John enters The Kingdom and after he greets old friends and family that he will have time for more hunting and fishing trips.
John has enjoyed good health for most of his life. However, recently he required healthcare support. Would like to thank Best Hospice Long Term Care for the excellent care they provided the last days of John’s life. We are most grateful for the love and support of his dear friends whom he considered family, as well as members of his church family at First Baptist Church in Hamshire.
A gathering of Mr. Blackwell’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Thursday, March 31, 2022, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His funeral service will be at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 1, 2022, at First Baptist Church, 25304 Highway 124, Hamshire. His interment will follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in the name of John M. Blackwell to First Baptist Church of Hamshire Food Bank, P.O. Box 369, Hamshire, Texas 77622; The Humane Society of Southeast Texas, 2050 Spindletop Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 77705; or the charity of your choice.
May the Peace, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and may the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you, and remain with you, always.
Gathering of Family and Friends
Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
- 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
- March 31, 2022
- 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
First Baptist Church Hamshire
- 25304, Highway 124, Hamshire, TX, 77622,
- April 1, 2022
- 11:00 am
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
- 4955, Pine St, Beaumont, TX, 77703,