Charles Blackmon, the older of two children of the late William McKinley Blackmon and Annie Mae Street Blackmon, was born on September 15, 1938 in Greenwood, Mississippi. He died May 6, 2005 at the Duke University Medical Center.
Charles attended primary and secondary schools in Greenwood, graduating from Broad Street High School in 1956. He attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi, East Carolina University and Wake Forest University where he received his Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA). Additional studies were completed at North Carolina Central University. He also held the Certified Data Processor (CDP) designation.
On September 17, 1960 Charles married his college sweetheart, Betty Lynn Reynolds, and they had two children, Charles Kevin and Leslie Renee.
Charles joined the United States Air Force in 1958 and spent most of his time in Technical schools, learning to program what was called "the first generation of computers." In 1962, following his military service, he, Betty, and Charles Kevin moved to Durham where he began working for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company as a computer programmer. During his forty years of devoted service to North Carolina Mutual, Charles rose through the ranks, holding a variety of jobs with progressive managerial responsibilities, ultimately becoming a Senior Vice President. One of his most notable efforts was his 15-year involvement in the Smoking Cessation Programs for Black Americans. This was the beginning of Charles' foray into the area of health care. Another notable project that he spearheaded was the special 100th year celebration of Mutual's founding, held in 1998. The culminating gala will long be remembered. Charles held memberships in the Life Office Management Association and the National Insurance Association both professional organizations within the insurance industry.
After Charles' retirement in 2002, he became the Executive Director of the National Insurance Association (NIA), a consortium of black insurance companies. He had just completed plans for the NIA's annual convention, which is to be held in San Antonio, Texas this June.
Charles was a deeply religious man, where commitment to Holy Cross Catholic Church was a guiding force in his life. In 1968, he became one of the charter members of the Holy Cross Men's Society. His vision and leadership helped shape the organization's focus on community service. The Men's Society came to be known throughout Durham for its famous "Rib Joint". For over twenty-three years, Charles participated in almost every aspect of the Rib Joint's operation from "rubbing down" ribs and chicken to cooking and packaging the barbecued delicacies. The venture was so successful, it not only generated funds for the Holy Cross Scholarship Program, but also made it possible for the Men's Society to generously contribute to projects throughout the Durham community, including helping to start the Durham Eagles AAU basketball team. Beyond the parameters of Holy Cross, Charles was active in the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, chairing the Diocesan Finance Council for many years and serving on the board of the Cardinal Gibbons High School. In recognition of his efforts and contributions, the Men's Society recognized Charles as its "Man of the Year. " He was also a Third Degree member of the Knights of Columbus.
Charles was initiated into the Rho Epsilon Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Inc. in 1957. He was a dedicated member of the Beta Phi Chapter, serving as its Basileus (President). He was not only active in the Durham Chapter of Omega, but at the State and International level as well. Charles served as Chairman of the International Benefits Committee, and was a primary architect of the organization's International Leadership Conference. Charles was honored as "Omega Man of the Year" at both the local and the district levels.
Charles was a multifaceted man who made numerous contributions to his community, particularly in the areas of health care. He served two terms on the Board of Trustees of Durham County Hospital Corporation. He was the Board's chairman during the merger of Durham Regional Hospital and Duke University Health System. He also served on Duke University Health System's Board of Trustees and its Finance Committee, as well as the Search Committee for the Chancellor for Health Affairs and President of the Duke Health System. He was appointed to the Governor's Task Force for a Healthy Carolina and served as the chairman from 1999-2003. The Task Force created the "Charles Blackmon Leadership Award" for the Elimination of Health Disparities in October of 2004, and it is to be awarded annually to a deserving coalition partnership in the state. Charles also served in several leadership positions with the United Way including chairing the William and Josephine Clement Recognition Program. He was on the board of the North Carolina Hospital Association, North Carolina Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force, and chaired Project ASSIST, a statewide health initiative focused on improving smoking cessation rates, particularly among African Americans. He was a member of former President George Herbert Walker Bush's National CEO Roundtablefor Cancer. Charles also co-chaired the Durham City/County Consolidation Charter Commission in 2001, which made recommendations for merging the police and fire departments. He chaired the Durham County Budget Efficiency Committee and worked on many other boards and committees in the Durham community.
Page created 6/14/2005