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Johnson Whilden Blackwell Jr.

October 9, 1944 ~ January 10, 2020 (age 75)


Johnson Whilden Blackwell, Jr. passed away peacefully at home on January 10, 2020.   He was born October 9, 1944 in Lebanon, Tennessee the son of Johnson Whilden Blackwell, Sr. and Elizabeth Pruitt.  He was a student at the lab school for Troy State Teacher’s College in Troy, Alabama where his Dad was a professor.  He moved to Panama City, Florida with his family in 1957 when his father accepted a position to start the English department at Gulf Coast Community College.  His mother was a Spanish teacher at Bay High School.  He was a student at Jinks Junior High and graduated from Bay High School in 1963.  He went to Gulf Coast Community College and after he received his Associate of Arts degree he attended the University of Florida.  He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity and graduated in 1967 with degree in Marketing.   He started his professional career in Jacksonville, Florida working for the Continental Insurance Company.  On weekends, he was a reserve Marine and was a member of the service for 6 years.  He moved to Albany, Georgia and met his beautiful wife Carol when his best friend, Gary Tennyson set him up on a blind date.  They were married six months later in December of 1971 and just recently celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary.  They moved back to Panama City and he started Blackwell Insurance Agency in 1972.  He had a very successful career and loved talking shop and solving everyone’s insurance problems.  

He loved life and conducted his life with honor and integrity.  He was an avid sportsman traveling to Central America annually to go dove hunting with his friends.  He loved Florida Football and regularly wagered on the outcome of the football games.  He loved freshwater and saltwater fishing and was a first mate on fishing boats and a life guard as his summer jobs while growing up in Panama City.  He loved scalloping, sailing, water skiing, riding three wheelers around the woods of Chain Lakes and skeet shooting.  He loved being a member of the Rotary Club and regularly got in trouble for telling jokes that made people uncomfortable but, laugh the hardest.
He created a persona, Captain Tubin’.  Tubing was an event done on summer weekends at Econfina Creek.  There would be a picnic and float down Creek shouting “Tubing, Tubing, Tubing!” So that everyone knew what he was doing. He always loved having tons of toys, Jeeps, Porsches, Polaris Razors, Harley motorcycles, he always said “the person with the most toys wins!” He loved going to Apalachicola on the Harley motorcycle, he thought that the “world was your oyster”.  He was asked to officiate a wedding for his nephew Jason.  He recognized that there was nothing more important than family.  He loved having three daughters, even though when asked about having all girls he said “I was disappointed every time.” He loved to ride his motorcycle to the Outpost and watch the band perform.   He was an amazing storyteller, he could command a room and loved to tell the best jokes.  He had a larger than life personality.  He loved photography and he loved going to the New Orleans Jazz Festival every year.  In 2005, he was a participant in the Key West Ernest Hemingway look alike contest and he said it was rigged and it was a was strange feeling being surrounded by all these people that look like you.  He was so generous  always offering to pay for everything.  He especially liked having fish fries for his friends.  He really enjoyed going up to fish in the Apalachicola River system at his Outback Camp at Howard’s Creek with Carol.  He had an Aunt Jewell who said to him, “When we lived, we lived!”  He conducted himself with grace and dignity and always made everyone feel better.  He always said that he had a very full life and loved every minute of it.  He is survived by his wife Carol; daughters Lea Blackwell, Tina Blackwell Romaine (Peter) and Margaret Jewell Blackwell; grandchildren Reese Romaine and Addison Romaine; his sister, Betsy Anderson and nephew Jason Christo (Sarah).  In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the News Herald’s Empty Stocking Fund, Salvation Army and Anchorage Children’s Home.  We will have a celebration of life on Saturday, January 18, 2020.

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