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To the Blackman family - I only met Joel a few times but worked very closely with his Dad, John, for a number of years at KCP&L. My sympathys to the entire Blackman family on the loss of a fine young man.

Scott Grafelman

Dearest Blackman family, We are so sorry to hear about Joel's death and saddened by his great loss to your family. I remember when he was a young boy and Cari wanted him to wait till she grew up so she could marry him. He was such a sweet boy. It sounds like he had a rich life with his family and one of faith. May God continue to bless your family and friends. Lovingly, Tim and Sharon Sullivan

What I remember the most about Joel was his smile. He carried it with him always and was not shy about sharing it with others. I can not recall a time when I saw him and he did not have that smile. He smiled when he said hello. He smiled when he gave you a big hug. He smiled when he asked how are you doing. He smiled when he talked about his family and he smiled when he talked about Jesus. Not everyone understands the power of a smile - Joel did and the lives he touched with his smile make me smile just thinking about him. Thank you Joel for your smiles for life and the examples you set for us all. Keep smiling!

Susan Bayles

Most of you don't know me but I worked for Capital Electric Line Builders for 28 years, mainly in the line construction side of the business. In 1995, KCPL had a early out and all the good design planners, including John Blackman took the early retirement package. I went to KCPL for work for my crews and was told they were not going to have any until they figured out how to get them designed as all the good planners had retired. I knew John Blackman very well and I call him and three other retirees and asked them if they were still wanting to work. I hired all four and approached KCPL with my plan to start a desgn group. I still ran all the field work but now had a gesign group. I have to say that I don't think my boss, Bob Asher thought we would be successful. The designers worked in the basement of the Kansas City office and it was soon apparent that we needed more help. John told me about his son Joel, that he was a fireman but knew AutoCAD and could work part time cleaning up drawings for us. That was the beginning of a long relationship with Joel.

It wasn't long before Joel was the best designer that I had (sorry John)and was helping with the marketing of our department. Joel decided to retire from the fire department and work for me full time. I have never seen someone come from a completely different background and be as successful as Joel was. Who would have thought a fireman could be a design planner? Joel was named planning manager and continued to grow the department.

In 2001 Capital was sold, and within the next few years Bob Doran the owner and our boss Bob Asher were gone. The work for the planning group had fallen off significantly and Joel and I were very aware that something had to be done.

In November 2006 we moved to PAR Electric along with 20 other employees. We had no work and a large overhead. Joel, Earl Howard and I worked many hours marketing and believing in our employees. Today the Planning, Engineering and Technical services group has over 100 employees working in many states.

I very much miss Joel Blackman, his friendship and his business sense. All the employees in our group are indebted to Joel. Without his hard work we would not have the good jobs we do now.

Joel, I hope you are looking down and smiling with that smile mentioned in another post. We all miss you.

Dear Blackman Family,

I still remember all the family time we spent together at Grandma's or Nana's house around the holidays. As we grew up, attended college, and went our separate ways, those times have disappeared, but the memories haven't. I still remember Uncle Joel's laugh. I still remember the pranks at Christmas that Uncle Tom and Joel would play on each other. Like the time that one of them wrapped the other's gift in a wooden box screwed together. There was a lot of laughing then! I remember Uncle Joel finishing my parent's basement. I remember him as a firemen. But most of all, I remember his laugh.

At Joel's Celebration of Life, I had the privilege of seeing just how many people's lives he touched. (I bet that wasn't all of them though.) I have to admit, I'm not surprised. If Joel is anything like my mom, Cindy, then I know just how much he cared about his family and friends. It must be a Blackman trait, kind of like the Blackman tears. :)

Aunt Kim - I don't know if you're the one that checks this e-mail box or not, but I wanted to let you know that every time I asked my Mom how you were doing, she'd always say, "She's so strong!" Being a wife myself, I can't imagine what you went through watching Joel go through his illness. Through your own words on the Makn Memories blog, I know it was your faith that held you up through this past year. I hope that I come even close to having faith like yours.

Dear Blackman Family,

I just learned of Joel's passing today. I'm very sorry for your loss. I knew Joel as a customer when I first met him 9 years ago, but came to know him more like a friend. He had such a friendly manner, great smile and funny stories. I always looked forward to meeting with him and John and Ron when projects came up. I'm confident his spirit will live on through his family and through the successful companies he helped start.

Well Blackman Family,

As I know in my heart is it one of the hardest things to lose a parent, I have to say that God has blessed you with the time he did to say your goodbyes, and let your husband and father be where he was born to live in the first place! So many of us never get that chance, I am thank the lord that each and everyone of you did.

My first memory of Mr. Blackman was of Brett's stories, he couldn't tell you enough great things about the guy; how brillant he was, was a great father he was, was a wonderful follow of Jesus he was, the first book he ever read "rich Dad Poor dad" his father gave him. Awww that man was certainaly on the highest pedestal next to God in Brett eyes.

When I first met him, I was so nervous since Brett had said so many great things, I was speechless, I don't even remember saying anything at all! What I do remember is Joel handing his hand and saying "so your the Misty I have been hearing about!" Since then I knew there was such a deep admiration of respect for him, through myself, and because I knew Brett respected him so much.

I sit here cryign right now, just imagining how much Brett misses him. But I know, with this families strong faith you will get through as always.

You guys as always in my thoughts, and not one day goes by that I do not thank the lord for putting you in my your direction, wherever the road directed us.

God bless you and your family.

Misty Liebisch

September 9, 2009

My Time with Joel Blackman

From childhood through our early 20’s Joel and I were close enough to be each other’s best man at our weddings. I was lucky enough to be Joel’s best man twice. His first begat Brett and Kim having children I have yet to meet. So as you can imagine, I may have a few stories at least to share about my best man Joel.

During the late seventies and early eighties Joel was driving a nasty Mustang beater of a car. While we were in high school Joel and I drove that bad boy from KC all the way down past Springfield, MO to rendezvous with fellow Mission Road senior high peers for a float trip on either Current or Jacks Fork rivers. Shortly after beginning our trip he dropped his muffler. We wired it up, but nothing could prepare us for the resulting roar. His car became the loudest nastiest Mustang beater on the road for several hundred miles. It was deafening and a journey I’ll never forget.

Joel was a lanky guy through our early and high school years. You could never keep Joel on the sidelines of good competitive athletic competition. From softball games at Lake Doniphan summer camps to training and competing for and at Sports Spectacular Joel gave it 110%. Joel always gave it his all through think and thin; through it all that great attitude and contagious grin was always there.

One of my fondest moments was a weekend I spent back home between weeks at Graceland College. Joel had moved on from Graceland by this time and was back in KC. So when in town I would mosey on over to Joel’s house to see what he’s up to. This was when Brett was just a little tyke. (Yes Brett was just a little giant like all of us were at one time. From what I can tell Brett’s grown to be a handsome man with a wonderful family.) Joel had this fancy fixer upper green Camaro from the late 60’s. He claimed it was one of the better years and I believed him. Anyways he would be toying with this hotrod to get it the way he wanted it and eventually he’d roll it out and take us for a spin. It became his ride. Does he still have it? That car became my inspiration to buy my own Camaro after graduating from college. So Joel jumped in with me and we took off for Graceland perhaps for homecoming. Having just bought it I did not know how to really get the full experience from my new ride. So we pealed off the T-tops, got on the open road of I-35 and Joel said, “Just push the pedal all the way to the floor and don’t let up, the computer will change the gears for you (a V-8 automatic).” In seconds the car was at warp speeds, launching itself faster at each change of gear, screaming down the highway. Shortly afterwards we pulled off to quench our sudden thirst at a roadside gas station. A man came up to us while at the cooler and asked, “How fast were you going.” We replied, “We have no idea.” He said, “You went buy us so fast, we thought we were sitting still.” We guessed we had to be going at least 120 or better.

On another weekend I came over to Joel’s he and his dad was roofing his house. So I gladly pitched in on bribes of pizza on the roof. Another weekend it was installing Formica on his kitchen counters. Of course it wasn’t too much later he decided to marry beautiful Kim and I was lucky enough to get that call to me his best man again. In the deep recesses of my mind I hoped this was it and he wouldn’t be calling me again. Well you know the rest of that story.

It was about this time the Joel and I went our separate ways. I ended up in Naperville, Illinois raising my family and Joel started his new life with Kim. We never saw each other again after going separate ways. Joel is always a part of my life and I cannot recall a time when he wasn’t. It was these times we had together that have always made my reflections back to my younger years great memories and I feel fortunate I’ll have them forever. Next time you go skinny dippin’ in a rock quarry, call me.

Kim, from what I can tell, you’ve done well. I wish we could have come to know each other a little more. I can’t help but think you rubbed of nicely on Joel and he’s a better man for it and I bet he rubbed off a little of him on you.

Thanks Joel for being a great friend, my best man, forever and ever. Amen. Russell Hedrick

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