Columbia County lost one of its most respected keepers of history.
Bill Blackard, 86, a longtime resident and county historian, died in Memphis, Tenn., on Monday.
Blackard retired from the civil service at Fort Gordon. He was an accomplished graphic artist and illustrator. Some of his best-know public work was creating inspirational and motivational materials for Superintendent John Pierce Blanchard on behalf of the Columbia County school system.
Blackard was a member of the Columbia County Historial Society. He is most known for his efforts, alongside his wife, Jean, walking through church cemeteries or tromping through the woods chronicling county burial sites, which were complied into a book – Sacred to the Memory of Cemeteries and Burial Sites in Columbia County, Georgia.
“With his wife, he provided a tremendous public service with his book documenting every known burial site in Columbia County - the sort of hard, thankless and tremendously valuable task that the best historians provide,” said Barry Paschal, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and the CSRA.
“Those who knew him will surely miss him – and generations who never had the good fortune of meeting him nonetheless will benefit from his work.”
A decade ago, Blackard was diagnosed with an incurable bone marrow disease and moved to Memphis.
He is survived by his wife; four children; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Friday, and he was buried in the Veteran’s Cemetery in Memphis.