Robert Rhyne Blackwelder

May 9, 1931 – November 24, 2018

Robert Rhyne Blackwelder, age 87, entered into the presence of God on Saturday, November 24, 2018 at the Gordon Hospice House in Statesville, NC, surrounded by his loving family.

Robert was born on May 9, 1931; the son of the late Nathan Dewitt Blackwelder Sr., and the late Ruby Irene Deaton Blackwelder. He was the last surviving member of that family. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Cary, Dewitt, Neil and Wayne Blackwelder; and sisters, Thelma Holt, Faye McPhaul, and Doris Marion.

He was a wonderful and loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle and friend; and was loved and respected by all who knew him. He was brave and strong, having fought cancer for 14 years and a devastating stroke for 4 years.

He was raised in the Amity Hill Community, and at an early age became responsible for many of the jobs on the family farm. As a young man, he tagged along with Clyde Hagler of Troutman and learned to do many tasks that would normally require a vet. Neighbors would call on him to treat a horse with colic, or to neuter their animals.

Robert was educated in the Iredell County schools; attending Amity Hill and Troutman Schools. He left high school early to enlist in the US Army because the Korean War was escalating and he wanted to get the best training that he could get. He served honorably in the US Medical Corp in Korea for over a year as an ambulance driver. He must have witnessed many horrible things, but he was reluctant to talk about his experiences. He mentioned that he had never been so cold in his life. He told about being arrested and jailed for transporting a body without the proper paperwork. He had to remain in jail until the paperwork was cleared up. He also talked about driving the ambulance while bullets bounced off of it.

On December 22, 1951, he married the love of his life; the former Barbara Jean Elmore who survives.

After his discharge from the Army, he was employed for many years at Cascade Mills in Mooresville as a loom fixer until the mill closed. He then worked as a gasoline tanker driver for Charlotte Transportation, and Hickory Fuel Company. He retired from Swicegood Trucking.

He volunteered for many years coaching his granddaughter’s softball team. In retirement, he found a new passion for helping others by volunteering with the Troutman Help Ministries Woodcutters Ministry. He loved to serve others by cutting, splitting, and delivering firewood to needy families to keep them warm during the cold winter months.

Robert had many interests. He loved the outdoors, and enjoyed hunting and fishing. He always had horses and loved to spend time sitting on the back of one of his horses. He passed this pleasure on to his children and grandchildren. He was well known for his ability to train horses and bird dogs.

He loved watching the Atlanta Braves, the North Carolina Tarheels and HeeHaw. As his health declined, he enjoyed sitting by the back patio window looking out to see the wildlife that might come into the backyard.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Barbara Blackwelder; his daughters Sharon Utsman (Percy), Becky Benfield, and Robin Crawford (Wayne); grandchildren Nicki deJong (Robert), Courtney Parks (Daniel), Michael Benfield (Justine), Matthew Benfield (Jessica) and Shannon Crawford; great grandchildren Chloe, Chandler and Ashton Mayes; Kyla, Andrew, Lily, Henry, Abigail, Bethany, William and Hannah Parks; Sloan and Audrey Benfield, and Tyler Willis. Also surviving are sisters-in-law Wanda Whitlow, Patricia Howard (John) and Wanda Blackwelder; a brother-in-law Ron Elmore (Jane); and a foster brother Floyd Owenby (Bonnie). He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and friends who he loved dearly.

The family received friends on Monday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Troutman Funeral Home Chapel.
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 27, at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church located at 579 Weathers Creek Road, Troutman, NC. Officiating will be Rev. David Miner and Rev. Dr. David Troutman. Interment will follow the service at Iredell Memorial Gardens with fully military rites presented by Iredell County Veterans Council Burial Detail.

Pallbearers will be Michael Benfield, Matthew Benfield, Chandler Mayes, Andrew Parks, Ashton Mayes, Billy Coleman, and Floyd Owenby.

Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Troutman Help Ministries Woodcutters Ministry.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Troutman Help Ministries Woodcutters Ministry, P.O. Box 151, Troutman, NC 28166; St Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Judge Place, Memphis, TN, 38105; Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County, 2341 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625; Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 838, Troutman, NC 28166.

Troutman Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements for Robert Blackwelder.

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  1. Cynthia Roseman Dickerson wrote:

    My heartfelt condolences go out to all of his family,especially Barbara, Sharon, Becky and Robin. He was a truly kind man and I will always cherish the memories of Robin and I going to participate in horse shows with Blue Boy and Blaze, so many years ago. May God comfort you in the days ahead and celebrate a life well lived.