Mr. Donald F. Blackburn, passed away on Saturday, February 4, 2023, in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Born May 7, 1927, in Sioux Falls, SD, he was the son of Bernice and Herbert Blackburn. He attended high school in Sioux Falls and briefly attended college before joining the American Forces in WWII, where he served in Japan.
Upon returning from the war, he married his high school sweetheart, LaVonne Bacon, in 1947; they were married for 75 years. Don went to work for the Morrell Meat Packing Company for many years before transferring to Philadelphia, PA, with Morrell. He rose through the ranks then joined Gino’s restaurant chain. After serving in many capacities with Gino’s, Don started his own company, American Food Service, which supplied beef to Burger King. Don was the President and Chairman of the Board of AFS, and rose to prominence nationally in the meat packing industry.
Don and LaVonne moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1995 and he continued with his hobbies of golf, gardening, birding, and fishing. But his major interest was helping other people. Don joined the Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary Club and instantly become a pillar of service for the club. He earned the Arch Klumph Society Award for major donors. Don and long-time friend, Bruce Barber, put together plans, and raised the funds necessary to build the Council On Aging Senior Center on Landrum Lane. Next, they put their efforts to building the Alzheimer’s Center next to the Concert Hall. Don was a benefactor at Mayo Clinic, and longtime supporter of many local charities. He was especially proud of his support of Lend an Ear, a refurbished hearing aid service. He was also a United Way de Tocqueville Society member.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers. He is survived by his wife, LaVonne of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; sister, Dorothy Judy of Sioux Falls, SD; daughter, Lynette Blackburn of Ponte Vedra Beach, FL; son, Brad Blackburn of Philadelphia, PA; and multiple nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Services have been completed under the direction and care of Ponte Vedra Valley.