William James Blackburn, Jr.

November 5, 1934 ~ April 21, 2019 (age 84)

Obituary Image


William James Blackburn, Jr., 84 of Evanston, passed away at home on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019. He was born November 5, 1934 in Miami, Florida, the son of William J., Sr. and Loretta Blackburn, nee Graham. Loving husband of Janice Blackburn, nee Kennedy, married in Miami, 1964. Father to Ian (Tracy) Blackburn and Joshua (Helen) Blackburn.  Grandfather to Benjamin, Connor, Piper, Logan, Charlotte, and Matilda. Brother to Robert C. Blackburn (deceased).

Bill was born in Miami, but spent several of his early years in Erie, Pennsylvania before returning to Miami.  He graduated from Miami Senior High School in 1953, and served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1953-57, where he was stationed in Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.  He was an officer with the Miami Police Department from 1958-64, during which time he met his wife Janice.  He also attended night classes at the University of Miami, and attained a BA degree in Russian in 1964.  Soon after they married, he joined the FBI as a special agent from 1964 to 1968. He then moved to the private sector, working in the corporate security field for 34 years, retiring from W. W. Grainger in 2002. He also continued in the Coast Guard Reserve, attaining the rank of Chief Warrant Officer.

Bill had a lifelong love of plants and gardening from his years growing up in Miami and working at his uncle’s nursery.  In retirement, he volunteered at the Chicago Botanic Garden for 9 years, often working in the greenhouses that reminded him of his youth in Miami.  He also enjoyed traveling with Janice to visit his grandchildren on a regular basis.

Memorial service 11:00am Saturday, May 4, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church, 1430 South Boulevard, Evanston, where he had been a member since 1976.

In lieu of flowers, contributions to Grace Lutheran Church or your favorite charity would be appreciated.

Interment private. Arrangements entrusted to Evanston Funeral & Cremation, Roland F. Weis director. Info 847 866-8843, condolence and guestbook at

To send flowers to William's family, please visit our floral section.


Memorial Service
May 4, 2019

11:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church
1430 South Boulevard
Evanston, IL 60202

© 2020 Evanston Funeral & Cremation. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS