Bernard Francis ‘Barney’ Blackburn
February 28, 1940 – August 6, 2007
Barney was an explorer – from globetrotting the world to looking into his own thoughts. No subject was outside his interest or in-depth examination. His sensitivity and caring were inexhaustible in his depth of love for his wife, Carmo, and his children, Christopher and Mary Ann.
Barney was born in Alton, Ill., and moved with his parents, Phil and Maxine, to Bryan in 1953. Barney went to St. Joseph’s Elementary School and became the altar boy he remained his whole life. He attended Lamar Junior High and was in the SFA High School graduating class of 1958. He was a true Eagle newspaper boy with a route of devoted customers for 4 years. Barney graduated from Texas A-M, class of ’62, with a double major in business plus history and served in Army intelligence in Korea. He received his master’s degree in international trade from Thunderbird in Phoenix.
Since early youth, he wanted to travel and work abroad, even fantasizing an unrealized dream of becoming a bullfighter. But the dream of travel was realized when work took him to Bolivia and Brazil, where he met and fell in love with Carmo in the town of Campinas. This led to their marriage in 1971. Barney became vice-president for international business for Ditchwitch in Perry, Okla., where their first son, Michael, was born. The family’s move to Brazil to open a Ditchwitch distributorship was darkened by the tragic loss of their son Michael and then brightened by the birth of Christopher and Mary Ann. Barney founded Lions Club in Tremembé around the same time he became the manager of a large ranch with a Fuller’s Earth mine and was able to fully indulge his life-long love affair with dogs and horses, including hunting and English riding. He then created a company that manufactured and marketed veterinary products for horses.
In 1991, the family moved back to Brazos County so that the kids would become fluent in English and become better acquainted with their American heritage (Barney had become fluent in Portuguese in Brazil.). Another goal was reached when both children graduated from A-M. Barney finished his working days at A-M in the department of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs doing research on student composition.
In support of his unquenchable and broad interests, Barney was an avid and voracious reader and Internet user. He was, without question, a great conversationalist and lover of a good story. A wonderful husband, father, brother, uncle and friend who will be sorely missed.
Survivors include his wife, Maria do Carmo; son, John Christopher and fiancée, Cinthia Piva; daughter and son-in-law, Mary Ann and Roberto Haaland; sisters, Kathy Nigh and Ann Sembera; brother and sister-in-law, Philip and Ann Blackburn; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Mass and memorial service is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 10 at St. Joseph’s, followed by a reception and dinner.
The family requests that donations be made to ‘Luz da Vida’, a non-profit organization that helps needy cancer patients. The organization is located in Guaxupe, Brazil, where Barney will be buried. Please, make donations in the name of Carmo Blackburn and on the memo area write ‘Luz da Vida.’