How do you sum up 90 years of a man’s life in one breath? Impossible. All that can be captured is the legacy he leaves and memories that sustain his family and friends. Vester Blackman was a veteran of World War II who enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a teen. He was honorably discharged from the navy, but he never lost the discipline of military life. He rose early, ate the same breakfast each day, went to work and returned home the same time every day. His work ethic was impeccable. He worked for over 40 years at the same factory. While many complained of the tedium of factory work, he never did. He was grateful for the work and grateful that he was able to support his family. He taught his children to always be grateful for work. “You can’t get something for nothing.” This was just one of his life lessons. Vester Blackman was frugal, but he was always willing to pay for education.

He was always clean-shaven, wore the same short haircut, and maintained the same “navy” weight his entire life. At the age of 40, he started riding a bike to and from work, then became an avid biker who biked 15-20 miles a day. When he retired, his co-workers pitched in and bought him a bike. After retirement, he completed a bike repair course at the YMCA and enjoyed fixing bikes for neighborhood kids.

After losing his loving wife of 50 years, he enjoyed his time with daily caregivers and people who, “keep me alive.” His daughter, Gwendolyn, who maintained his home and shared in his care. His son Kenneth, who provided daily care and renovated his home to make it more comfortable. His tea maker and warrior, daughter Veronica. His daughter Monica who lovingly prepared his Sunday dinners. His phone calls from Steven and his granddaughter Monica. His visits from Michael’s children and grandchildren. His summers and holidays with Sallie’s children, “the thumpers.” His beautiful little chauffeur, Kayla, who drove him back and forth to his appointments. He cherished all of his children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, extended family, neighbors and friends. He was loved.

Vester Blackman’s legacy is one of hard work, physical and financial discipline, gratitude and love. Which is why, if you asked him how he was doing, he always responded: “I am blessed.”

He is survived by his children Gwendolyn Blackman, Michael Blackman (Deborah), Sallie Blackman Chandler (Timothy), Kenneth Blackman, Steven Blackman, Veronica Gill (Andres), Monica Blackman Smith (Anthony), Albert Blackmon, Beverly, his brother David Blackmon and sister Nellie Walton, 15 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and a one great-great grandchild.

He is predeceased by his wife Amanda, his parents Rance and Sallie Blackmon, his brothers Robert, Thomas,Willie, Leroy and Joe, his sisters Olivia, Lillie Mae, Lexie, Martha, Bessie, Ruth, Christine and Nancy.

Funeral Services will be held at 9:00am on Saturday, December 5 at the United Church on the Green, New Haven. Interment will take place at Beaverdale Memorial Park. Viewing will be held from 5:00pm – 7:00pm on Friday, December 4, 2015 at Curvin K. Council Funeral Home, 128 Dwight Street, New Haven.