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In Memoriam: Helen Blackwell

Helen Blackwell and Feda Morton
Helen (Reddy) Blackwell, lifelong conservative activist and leader, and beloved wife of our friend Morton Blackwell and cherished mother of our colleague William Blackwell was called home to her Lord on September 8, 2019. 

Many of our conservative friends will recognize Mrs. Blackwell as the wife and tireless helpmate of Leadership Institute founder Morton Blackwell. Early students at the Leadership Institute have recounted how in the beginning a “scholarship” to the Leadership Institute was the opportunity to pitch your sleeping bag on Morton and Helen’s floor and enjoy Helen’s home cooked Louisiana cuisine.

Many also have recounted how Morton would show up with a bunch of high school and college kids in tow and Helen would magically make chairs and food appear, but Helen was also a tireless champion for her principles and a conservative leader in her own right.

Mrs. Blackwell served as the Virginia State Chairman of Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum for 25 years and, for many years, wrote a regular, national newsletter, "News and Notes" for Eagle Forum.  She was also director of the Virginia Conservative Alliance and the Voting Integrity Project, of which she was the original chairman. 

A dedicated political activist, Mrs. Blackwell was elected chairman of the Arlington County, Virginia Republican Committee three times and was the Republican captain of the Lyon Village precinct in Arlington for 41 years.  She served on the State Central Committee of the Republican Party of Virginia and was a Delegate from Virginia to a Republican National Convention.

Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore appointed Mrs. Blackwell to the Board of Visitors for James Madison University; she served in that role from July 1999 to June 2004. 

Mrs. Blackwell was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  She attended one year at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and received her B.A. in History of Art and M.B.A., both from Louisiana State University, where she was the co-founder and secretary of Students for Conservative Government.  She spent a year of post-graduate studies in art at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana).  She was a volunteer docent for many years at the National Gallery of Art.  Since 1972, she resided with her family in Arlington, Virginia. She was an active member of Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church and the Eleanor Wilson Chapter of the D.A.R. 

Mrs. Blackwell was a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother. She is survived by Morton, her husband of 47 years, her sons Charles Attaway and William Blackwell, her daughter-in-law Wendy, and two grandchildren, Isabel and Paxton Blackwell.

Visitation will be held on Friday, September 13 from 5pm to 8pm at Advent Funeral & Cremation Services (7211 Lee Highway, adventfuneral.com) in Falls Church. 

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, September 14 at 11am at Columbia Baptist Church (103 West Columbia Street) in Falls Church. A graveside ceremony will follow immediately at Columbia Gardens Cemetery (3411 Arlington Boulevard, columbiagardenscemetery.org) in Arlington.

One of the hallmarks of Mrs. Blackwell’s leadership of the Arlington County Republican Committee and the many other organizations she led was that she never failed to begin the meeting by asking the Lord’s blessing on the organization’s activities or deliberations. Today, we invite you to join us in asking the Lord’s blessing on Helen and that the Lord bestow his comfort upon Morton and their children and grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the Leadership Institute or to Columbia Baptist Church.

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