Gary L. Blackman, 76, of Taylorville passed away at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, June 18 in his home. He was born on December 27, 1941, in Logansport, Indiana the son of Kenneth and Bonnie (Shaefer) Blackman. He married Marsha Pacotti on June 1, 1984, in Taylorville.
Gary graduated from Logansport High School in 1959 and went on to Indiana University where he earned his undergraduate degree and was ultimately awarded the Doctor of Optometry Degree. Dr. Blackman was a long time partner in the Central Optometric Associates (Advance Eye Care) in Taylorville, retiring in May of 2014 after 50 years of practice.
Gary was extremely active in many professional organizations. He was a member of the Illinois Optometric Association and was named Optometrist of the Year in 1997. During his tenure as President of the IOA, he was instrumental in the creation of laws allowing optometrists to prescribe therapeutic drugs for eye health. He was also passionate about providing eye care to nursing home residents having developed many of the protocols, something he continued to do even in his retirement. He was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and was also a member of the American Optometric Association, serving in various leadership roles up to Vice President. In addition, Dr. Blackman was a devoted volunteer to V.O.S.H. (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity), making countless humanitarian trips to Central and South America, as well as Poland and Africa to care for the less fortunate. He served as the first President of Illinois V.O.S.H. Gary was equally involved in his local community in many ways. He was a member of the Taylorville Kiwanis Club, helped for the Key Club at Taylorville High School, and was named Kiwanian of the Year in 1967. He, along with the husbands of other junior high teachers, helped start what is now known as Coats for Kids in Taylorville. Another community activity was serving on the board for the Christian County Mental Health Association. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church and participated in a men’s Bible Study Group. In his spare time, Gary loved to golf, garden and work in his yard, work on his 1937 Packard, and exploring new technologies. He also had a love of travel and traveled extensively to many locations in the United States as well as around the world, including Africa, China, Europe, Cuba, Southeast Asia, Russia, Poland, Central and South America, Jordan, Egypt, and Israel. Most recently he returned May 19, 2018, from a trip to Sicily and the Amalfi Coast. One of his most memorable and moving experiences was being baptized in the Jordan River at the exact sight where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
Above all, Gary loved his family and cherished his time spent with his children and grandchildren. He especially enjoyed attending their sporting events, which included local venues, many states, and overseas venues such as England and France. He will be greatly missed are his wife Marsha, son Jeff (Laura DeBruce) Blackman of Sanibel, Florida; daughter Stephanie (Andy) Ballard of London; and daughter Amy (Jeff) Juhlin of Chatham, IL. Grandchildren include Abigail, Margaret and Katherine Juhlin; Luke Blackman; and Nathaniel, Joshua, Benjamin, Jessica, and Quentin Ballard; brothers include Stan (Susan) Blackman, Tucson, Arizona, and Tom (Ginny) Blackman , Carmel, Indiana. Nieces and nephews include Neil and Blake Blackman; Greg and Lindsey Blackman; and John and Angela Pacotti.
A memorial service for Dr. Blackman will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 25, 2018 at the Taylorville First United Methodist Church with Rev. Becky Lembke officiating. Inurnment will take place in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. Visitation will be on Sunday from 3 until 6 p.m. at McClure Funeral Home in Taylorville.
Memorials in Gary’s honor may be made to V.O.S.H. Illinois, Taylorville First United Methodist Church, or the Taylorville Public Schools Foundation.
McClure Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Taylorville is handling arrangements.
Memories of Gary, or condolences to his family, may be left online at www.mcclurefuneralhome.com.