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Professor James Blackmore dies; taught at Southeastern, 1963-96

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–James H. Blackmore, an author, pastor and longtime professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, died March 3 at his home in Warsaw, N.C. He was 87.

Blackmore taught at Southeastern from 1963-96, and during much of that time led the school’s associate of divinity program. Those who knew him universally described him as a true gentleman whose legacy to Southeastern and the Southern Baptist Convention will be not only the many books he wrote but also the hundreds of students who blossomed under his tutelage.

“His students loved him and learned a great deal from him both in the classroom and in the life which he lived,” said Judy Durham, a longtime employee at the Southeastern library and a friend of Blackmore. “He made a difference in the lives of all of his students.”

Blackmore had a calling to teach the A.Div. students, those who came to Southeastern without a college degree but with a yearning to know more about the Scriptures. He had degrees from Wake Forest University and Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, a doctoral degree from the University of Edinburgh and did post-doctoral studies at Duke University, the University of Iowa and Princeton University.

His intellect never stood in the way of his quiet, Christlike manner, said Bart Neal, Southeastern’s vice president for institutional advancement.

“Dr. James Blackmore was a kind, generous and caring Christian gentleman,” Neal said. “[My wife] Edith and I were fortunate to meet him on our first visit to the campus. Dr. Blackmore’s Christlike spirit was always an encouragement to those who were blessed to know him.”

For a few years in the 1960s, Blackmore also led the seminary’s public relations and communications efforts. He produced a number of books during his lifetime, including works on the life of Christ, biblical studies and several collections of sermons.

“Dr. Blackmore’s life was invested in the life of his students,” said George Braswell, senior professor of Christian missions and one of the few current Southeastern faculty members who taught with Blackmore. “He was thoroughly prepared in his academic background, loved to write his many published books, and gave the biggest chunk of his life to a gentle and loving service to his Lord Jesus Christ and to his students. He always had time for them.”

In his retirement, Blackmore also served on the committee that planned the commemoration of Southeastern’s 50th anniversary. Phyllis Jackson, a longtime secretary at Southeastern, remarked that Blackmore was “more like Jesus” than anyone she ever met.

“He was so soft-spoken and always had a kind or caring word,” she said.

As he grew older, Blackmore stayed close to his hometown of Warsaw. Family, both physical and spiritual, was important to Blackmore, Durham said.

“He always found the good in everyone he met,” she said. “He was a devoted husband and father, a dedicated Christian, a wonderful teacher both in the classroom and in the Sunday School class which he taught for many years. He lived what he preached. I was blessed to have known him and to be counted among his friends.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://bpnews.net. Photo title: JAMES H. BLACKMORE.

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  • Jason Hall