Local retired obstetrician dies

Published 7:28 pm Thursday, January 4, 2007

The first full-time board certified specialist to practice medicine in the City of Picayune, Dr. Claude Jack Blackburn, died Friday, Dec. 29, 2006.

Blackburn moved to Picayune in 1966 with his wife, Brenda, to start a new life and a private obstetrics and gynecology practice. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University in dairy plant management, Brenda said. Jack Blackburn, as Brenda refers to him, then went into the military and served for two years from 1952 to 1954 as U.S. Army first lieutenant of srtillery in Korea. After his discharge from the Army, he went back to school for his master’s degree in bacteriology at Iowa State University.

Later he decided to go medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

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During his residency at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, he met his wife and worked with her in obstetrics and gynecology.

“So we knew each other for a long time before we had a relationship,” Brenda Blackburn said.

Just before Blackburn finished his residency, he and Brenda were married and later had a daughter, Stacey. Jack Blackburn also had two children from an earlier marriage, Claude Jr. and Karen.

While they worked together at the University Medical Center she remembers him as being one individual she could not control, one of the things that attracted her to him, she said.

“He was the only one who I couldn’t make do what I wanted him to do,” Brenda Blackburn said. “So I couldn’t control him so I guess I married him.”

She remembers him being a rather messy person but well respected because he was good at what he did.

For a time Blackburn had his pilot’s license and his own plane, until the family bought a boat. The cost of the boat, which was kept on the Gulf Coast, caused him to have to chose which recreational vehicle they would keep. They kept the boat. In 1969, Hurricane Camille damaged the boat but repairs put the boat back in the water and gave the family opportunities to spend time together. The boat was a focus of many family trips. Brenda Blackburn said there were times when Claude Jr. and Karen would join them for the trips to Ship Island or for fishing trips.

“He enjoyed having his children with him,” Brenda Blackburn said.

Some of Blackburn’s other hobbies included wood working and photography, for which he confiscated the extra bathroom to set up a dark room. He enjoyed reading but only got time to do it after his retirement in 1998. His retirement also gave the couple a chance to do some traveling, including to the West Coast and to Europe. The last trip he made was to see Stacey’s third child this past November, Brenda Blackburn said.

“When we got home he was so happy he had been there,” Brenda Blackburn said.

She said the people he worked with respected him for being his own person and being honest.

“He was very honest and always did what he thought was right,” Brenda Blackburn said.

That honesty showed in his work on the board of directors of First National Bank and as president and chairman of the board of trustees for Crosby Memorial Hospital, she said. During his time in Picayune, he delivered more then 5,000 babies, Brenda Blackburn said.

Blackburn is survived by his wife Brenda Blackburn of Picayune; a son, Claude Jack Blackburn Jr. of Jackson; two daughters, Karen Holder of Beaumont, Texas and Stacey McCoy of Brentwood, Tenn.