Longtime businessman Blackwood dead at 83

Oct. 27, 2010 at 5:27 a.m.

Kenneth Blackwood Sr., worked 12-hour days, six days a week until the day he died.

The 83-year-old was making coffee and getting ready for another day as owner of Blackwood Toyota when he suffered a stroke on Tuesday.

His son and partner, Kent Jr., 50, said Blackwood dedicated his life to serving people. Because of that trait, many of those became loyal customers, some even became close friends.

"He worked hard and that's how he prospered," his son said. "Just work hard and treat people right."

Blackwood and his wife, Bonita, moved to Victoria in 1994 and put in more hours than anyone else at the dealership, their son said.

"He and mom developed their friends from our customers," he said. "We have people who have bought 16, 17 vehicles. And they stop in just to say 'Hi' or for coffee."

Blackwell suffered an earlier stroke more than two years ago, but could always be found on the sales floor or riding a golf cart around the dealership, his son said.

Milton Killebrew, Blackwood's colleague at the Victoria Automobile Dealers Association, seconded Blackwood's dedication to his job.

"I guess I've known him for 16 years," Killebrew said. "He was the epitome of doing it the right way. He was everything you want an automobile dealer to be."

Killebrew said Blackwood was well respected among his peers.

"Collectively, the association supported various community projects and Mr. Blackwood was always at the forefront of wanting to assist the community," Killebrew said. "He was very knowledgeable about what was going on."

Blackwood, who earned his pilot's license while in high school and served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II, worked in the automobile business in five states since 1948.

Blackwood got into the cattle business for a while when he and his wife were living in Tennessee, and the couple owned the land that eventually became Elvis Presley's backyard, his son said.

In 1994, he and his son opened Blackwood Toyota. Earlier this year, the business completed construction of a new, state-of-the-art facility with an expanded service area with more technicians and an express lube service.

Named Dealer of the Week by Toyota Trucks of Texas on June 21 this year, Blackwood Toyota was cited in part for providing a full scholarship to the University of Houston-Victoria, sponsoring the local Educator of the Week and aiding disadvantaged high school students.

Given all of the hard work, Blackwood's son said his father got to be "the fun one" after hours.

"He's got the ultimate personality," his son said. "He's just a neat guy."

The Blackwoods, married almost 62 years, also have a daughter, Ann Blackwood, and five grandchildren.



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