She was born on February 5, 1931, in Montgomery, West Virginia, the daughter of Walter Grant and Mary Hope (Bush) Fitzgerald. She was the twin sister of Walter "Jack" Fitzgerald (d. 2017) of Florida.
Mary graduated from Gauley Bridge High School in 1949, and West Virginia University in 1953. She was a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.
She married her husband, Dr. Lyle M. Blackwell (1932- 2008 ) on June 20, 1953. After living briefly in Detroit, Michigan, she and Lyle returned to West Virginia, living most of their adult lives in the town of Gauley Bridge. While raising five children, she was extremely active in church and community service. She was elected the first Town Recorder of the newly incorporated community in 1978. She later served as its second Mayor, before retiring in 1994.
She and Lyle relocated to Kingsport in 1998, where she continued her volunteer activities while caring for her husband. When time allowed, she enjoyed bridge, tennis, cinema, traveling, sporting events, her grandchildren, and her many friends.
She is survived by five children: James L. Blackwell of Hurricane, West Virginia; Gerald G. (Jerry ) Blackwell of Kingsport, Tennessee (Cindy ); Scott A. Blackwell of Bacova, Virginia; Mary "Diane" Pendleton of Charleston, West Virginia ( Mark); and Matthew F. (Matt) Blackwell of Glenford, Ohio (Amber), 10 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held Thursday, October 10th at 12:00 noon, at Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home, Kingsport. Reverend Jack Weikel will officiate. The family will receive visitors following the service. She will be laid to rest with her husband in Gauley Bridge at a later date.
Mary Blackwell dedicated her life to the service of others - humbly and freely given. Her love of family was unconditional, sacrificial, and timeless. Her permanent smile, zest for life, generosity, and unfailing kindness have left an indelible mark on all who knew her. A deep and abiding Christian faith manifest by her actions. Truly a life well lived...
The family expresses deep gratitude to the staff of Preston Place II for their expert and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests any donations be sent to Preston Place II in Kingsport, TN or the Gauley Bridge Baptist Church in Gauley Bridge, WV.