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Richard Blackburn | 1932 - 2016

As posted by W. G. Young Funeral Home.

Richard Blackburn, age 84, passed away peacefully at Hillside Manor on Thursday, November 17, 2016. Richard is lovingly remembered for his gentle and playful spirit, eye for beauty, and the ways he modeled what it is to live a rich and remarkable life. The several roles he played in this community include beloved friend; devoted, creative and compassionate teacher to the students of Stratford Central; expert collector of antiques; encyclopaedic mind; and keeper of the most enchanted garden in town. Richard’s friends and former students knew him to be a local treasure – a figure who was widely recognized, and whose influence was deeply felt, by several generations. Richard is remembered as a true gentleman possessed of elegance and unfailing kindness, and as a precious and rare soul. He was a shepherd of the natural world, and he relished our finely crafted artistic contributions to it, music, theatre, art, horticultural design, food and wine among them. In his retired years, Richard was often found touring friends and strangers alike through his gardens, recalling the Latin name of each plant before treating his guests to cookies and a few thimbles of scotch or wine in the late day sun. Richard was an alluring character who, for sixty years, touched Stratford with his lively wit, dignified manners and the laugh that delighted all who heard it. He built enduring and rich relationships here, not the least of which were his students. To those students; please know how he cherished you. Your energy and humour as teenagers brought Richard pleasure and deep satisfaction while he was a younger man. Seeing how you have flourished in your own adulthood - and hearing from so many of you about how he impacted your lives – added unquantifiable joy to his elder years. You were a gift to him, just as he was to you. Family and friends may gather at St. James Anglican Church, 41 Mornington Street, Stratford, where Richard was a devoted member, on Saturday, December 3, 2016 after 12 noon. The Memorial Service will be held at 1 pm with Rev. Canon Dr. Lorne Mitchell officiating followed by a reception. Interment in Maple Leaf Cemetery, Chatham. As expressions of sympathy, memorial donations to PAL Stratford or a charity of one’s choice may be made through the W.G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford. 519.271.7411

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