John Robert Blackman was born on January 1st, 1961 in Moline, Illinois to James and Janice Blackman. Shortly after, they moved first to Maquoketa, Iowa and then Topeka, Kansas where John began kindergarten.
Later, the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado where John finished his schooling and graduated from the Air Academy High School. John was a very intelligent young man. He was part of the math team and enjoyed the computer lab on the campus. He took on great responsibility as he helped to care for his siblings as his father was often traveling for work.
John joined the United States Air Force and served as an Avionic Inertial and Radar Navigation System Specialist from 1981-1987. This is where John began his lifelong career in the field of computer technology. John pushed himself to be the best at everything he did. He received many accolades throughout his career for his achievements. He was looked to as an industry leader and because of his forward thinking, was asked to speak at conferences and participate in panels regarding the future of storage technologies. He was a published author, published in the Storage Magazine in 2003 with “The Shape of the New Datacenter” and in the InfoStor Magazine in 2008 with the “Benefits of Storage Service Architecture”. John was also a 3 time published poet in the International Library of Poetry. John loved to joke that he was proud to be a tattooed, suit wearing, biker, published poet, and the whitest Black-man that you’d ever meet!
Actually though, his greatest accomplishment was raising his four beautiful children, Cindi, William, Ellen and Justin. He always said he must have done something right to have such amazing kids. He made a point to remind his kids how proud he was of each of them and that he wished only the best for them in life, whatever path they choose to go down.
John married his wife, Leigha Cline in September of 2007 after stealing her heart with his datacenter storage architecture. They made their home in San Tan Valley, Arizona. Together, they loved to ride motorcycles. They and a group of great friends, made many wonderful memories on their road trips together, adhering to the motto, “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” John and Leigha spent their years together working on many projects in their home and John’s ‘man-cave’ garage. They, together with family and friends, built, renovated, and restored their entire “country” property to become a place where they all loved to hang out. John cherished his family and friends and loved spending time with them.
John died at the age of 55, in his home in San Tan Valley, Arizona on January 20th, 2016. He was preceded in death by his mother, Janice, in July of 2007. He is survived by his wife Leigha; his father James & sweetheart Joyce of Sun City, AZ; his sister Jeanne Silva of Lutz, FL; his nieces Heather (Brent) Harrell of Alexandria, VA & Lisa Silva of Fort Meyers, FL; his brother Jeff (Marguerite) of Vancouver, WA; his daughter Cindi (Andrew) Hounsell of Norfolk, VA; his grandchildren William, Aurora, & Andrew Jr.; his son William (Ryan) Veldt of Minneapolis, MN; his daughter Ellen & his son Justin both of Minneapolis, MN. ; his father & mother-in-law Doug & Denise Cline of Riverton, NE.; his brother-in-law John (Sara) Cline of Upland, NE; his nieces Macy, Audrey, Helena & Nephew Winston; his grandparents-in-law Jack & Ruth Cline, and Raymond & Myrna Duncan of Franklin, NE.; and a host of other cherished relatives & friends.
John was greatly loved and will be hugely missed, but he will forever be in our hearts.
Services will be held at San Tan Mountain View Funeral Home in San Tan Valley, AZ. On Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 10:30am. A Luncheon will follow at their home in San Tan Valley for all who can attend.
Condolences and memorials may be sent to the funeral home at 21809 S. Ellsworth Rd., Queen Creek, AZ 85142.