DANVILLE — Robert Lee “Blackie” Blacketer, 80, of Danville, passed away at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, April 19, 2015, at his home.
Bob was born July 31, 1934, in Kewanee, Ill., to Venice Edgar and Thelma Reed Blacketer.
Surviving are one son, Robert Michael (Tina Capobianco) Blacketer of Ladera Ranch, Calif.; two daughters, Tammy (Terry) Thompson of Oblong, Ill., and Wendy (Jim) Taylor of Livermore, Calif.; and five grandchildren, Christine (Cody Cornwell) Thompson of Robinson, Ill., Christopher Thompson of Oblong, Ill., Samantha Jerrell-Taylor of Marina, Calif., Alexander Taylor of Livermore, Calif., and Robert Venice Blacketer of Walnut Creek, Calif.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Bob was a very active member of the Masonic fraternity, having been raised a Master Mason in Rising Star Lodge in Stoughton, Mass. in 1971. After moving back to Illinois, he joined Robinson Lodge 250 in Robinson, Ill., where he served the lodge as Worshipful Master in 1984 and Olive Branch Lodge 38 in Danville where he was Mason of the Year in 1986 and served as lodge secretary from 2007 until the time of his passing. He served the Grand Lodge of Illinois as District Deputy Grand Master of the 8th Eastern Masonic District from 2008 to 2010.
He joined the Valley of Danville, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in the Fall of 1972 as a member of the Class of Participation and received the 32nd Degree. He became very active in Scottish Rite Degree presentations, both in major roles and as a Degree Director. He was the first president of the Golden Eagles Scottish Rite Club and served the Valley as Thrice Potent Master of the Danville Lodge of Perfection from 2008-2009. In August 2009, he received the 33rd and last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry at the Annual Meeting of the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America in Boston, Mass., a degree that cannot be applied for but is awarded to 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Masons for exceptional service to the fraternity or mankind.
He was a member of the York Rite of Freemasonry and was served as High Priest of Robinson Chapter 225, Royal Arch Masons in 1984 and later was an officer in Vermilion Chapter 82 in Danville, Thrice Illustrious Master of Danville Council 37, Cryptic Masons in 1988 and Eminent Commander of Athelstan Commandery 45, Knights Templar in 1989. He was a member of the York Rite Bodies in Champaign and a member of East Central York Rite College 81 in Paris, Ill. “Blackie” was a member of the Eastern Illinois Shrine Club and was a life-member of the Aahmes Shriners in Livermore, Calif. During his time in California, he became very active with fundraising for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, having worked with then San Francisco 49er’s owner Eddie Debartolo, Jr. on multiple fundraising efforts and served for several years on the board of directors of the East-West Shrine Game. He was a past officer of Gao Grotto in Danville. He directed several public play productions for the Valley of Danville Scottish Rite, as well as the Children’s Dyslexia Center of East Central Illinois and Olive Branch Lodge 38. He made countless numbers of “First Character Presentations” of George Washington, a presentation he had written elaborating on the life and Masonic history of our nations first president. In 2011, he wrote a public Christmas play presentation titled, “A Child Shall Lead Them,” which was first performed at Danville Masonic Temple, and which he dedicated to the memory of his father, the late Rev. Venice E. Blacketer, a former Danville minister.
Over the course the last several decades, he conducted hundreds of Masonic funeral services both in Illinois and California, the last of which just over three weeks before his passing. He was a member of the Danville Elk’s Lodge 332 and Danville Moose Lodge 1001. He was very active in the Crawford County Bow Hunters when he lived in Robinson.
Memorial service: 2 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at Masonic Olive Branch Lodge 38, AF&AM, Masonic Temple, 109 W. North St., Danville. Visitation: 1-2 p.m. Sunday at the Masonic Temple. Private family burial will be at Vermilion Grove Cemetery, near Ridge Farm.