Cover photo for William Blackwood's Obituary
William Blackwood Profile Photo

William Blackwood

d. February 22, 2024

William Blackwood, of Port Jefferson, NY passed away on February 22, 2024. He was 94 years young. Bill lived a long, happy and adventurous life with a personality and wit that endeared him to everyone he met. Bill leaves behind a legacy of perseverance and humor in the face of adversity and a family that will be forever grateful for his love and attention.

Born in Bronx, NY in 1930, young Billy experienced a time when horse drawn wagons still plied the streets of Manhattan and kids could earn a penny fetching ice from the ice wagon coming down the street. He watched his three older brothers and father go off to serve in WWII while he remained behind in school wondering if he was next.

In the 1950’s, Bill moved to Commack, Long Island, NY with his first wife Gini, and their three daughters, and began a career with LILCO as a lineman until he developed a visual issue that, in later life, left him legally blind. An avid long distance swimmer, Bill worked weekends as a Lifeguard at Sunken Meadow Beach for many years.

An electrician by trade, Bill started a business that grew into the largest pool wiring company on Long Island in the 1970’s, Great River Electric, Inc. He was instrumental in re-writing the code for pool wiring with the New York Board of Fire Underwriters as well as developing the prototype for an outdoor swimming pool panel that was manufactured by Midwest Electric and sold nationwide.

His love of acting began with performances in Community Theater on Long Island and he acted for several seasons with the Florida State Theater, The Asolo Repertory, in Sarasota, FL. He ultimately secured his SAG-AFTRA union membership and was an extra in the final scene of the film “Rollover” in 1981. The momentum of his acting career was lost when he had to return to Florida to care for his mother and sister.

In the late 80’s, Bill returned to Long Island where he met and married Mary Grace, the Stage Manager for Theater Three, in Port Jefferson, NY. Bill had the lead in their production of “Seduced” and while this was his final stage performance, it was the beginning of a new romance. They spent over thirty more happy years together sharing a love for theater on and off Broadway as well as Long Island Community Theaters and Shakespeare Festivals in Canada.

Whenever possible, Bill would love to travel and enjoyed many vacations with his adult daughters and sons-in-law and Mary Grace and her family. Every trip was another great adventure to places as near as Cape Cod, as exotic as Fiji and as far away as Antarctica.

Bill was extremely well read, thanks to talking books, and could converse, with incredible recall, on almost any topic, his favorite subjects being Anthropology, Religion and Astronomy. He had a lot to say about any subject and had a great sense of humor laughing at life in general and sharing those stories. Our favorite sayings of his were; “An ordinary man couldn’t have done it”, and “Life is not a rehearsal, this is the play.”

Bill lived his life with gusto and a big heart and was always ready to lend a helping hand and do whatever he could for his family and friends. He enjoyed any kind of construction project, large or small, including assisting two of his daughters’ in building their homes and then moving in!

Bill is survived by his loving wife, Mary Grace Blackwood and his three cherished daughters and sons-in-law; Jamie and Ron Burns of Stuart, FL, Bonnie and Roy MacDonald of Palm City, FL and Laurie and Edward Lorch of Jensen Beach, FL along with his grandchildren Justin Lorch and his wife Lisa Evac, Rebecca Lorch and Michael Post.

Bill enjoyed a large extended family with his marriage to Mary Grace and they offered him a new and untapped audience that will miss him dearly including his brothers-in-law and their wives and children: Rosario and Kathie Lazzaro of Port Jefferson, NY and Tom and Christina Lazzaro of River Vale, NJ.

He has left us wanting for more but with absolutely no doubt about the love he had for his wife, daughters, family and friends.

The family will hold a Celebration of Life at a future date to be determined.

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