Melvin Manley Blackburn, 94, passed away August 3, 2019 at the New Mexico State Veteran’s Home in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

He was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma, on June 10, 1925 to James Robert Blackburn and Katie Hawkins Blackburn. He served during WWII in the US Navy on the battleship BB-44 USS California. In August 1944, the USS California had a collusion with her sister ship, USS Tennessee. Melvin made all the landings in the South Pacific, Guam, Tinian, Manus, Leyte, and the Battle of Surigao Strait. The ship took a kamikaze attack on Jan. 6, 1945, at Lingayen Gulf, killing 44 men and injuring 155. After repairs the ship returned to battle at Okinawa and the East China Sea. After the war, they took a good-will tour around the world. He was a building, heating and plumbing contractor in Albuquerque, President of Mira Construction Company and owner of MM Blackburn Mechanical. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were instrumental in the opening of Choices for Children Day School, a not for profit, accredited pre-school and childcare with a 5-star rating with Children Youth and Families.

Melvin is survived by his wife Elizabeth Ford Blackburn, of Bowie, Texas; two sons: Michael Claude Blackburn of Rapid City, South Dakota and Randall Melvin Blackburn of Veguita, New Mexico; three step-daughters: Kathryn Iovino and husband Nick of Denver, Colorado, Dianna Ford of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Freda Crow and husband Tony of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is survived by many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Cremation has taken place and Mr. Blackburn will be inurned at the Santa Fe National Cemetery at a later date.