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His stepmother, City Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, said she met Mr. Blackwell and his siblings when she was teaching at Lea Elementary School. was always the best in his class, and always focused and always a leader, she added.
Mr. Blackwell graduated from Saints Academy, a boarding school in Mississippi, in 1976 and soon after graduation went to work with the former International Longshoremen Association Local 1332. He worked with the organization as an employee and business agent. He served as the chairman of its board of trustees for six years before becoming vice president in 1989 and president in 1992.
In 1991, Mr. After his time with the union, he was a collections manager at St. Hill Associates; a supervisor at Community Interactions, a mental health nonprofit in Swarthmore; and president of the Belmont Improvement Association.
He served two terms in the Pennsylvania House, representing the 190th District in West Philadelphia from 2005 until 2008, when he lost his re election bid to Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown.
As a state representative, Mr. Blackwell was the majority vice chairman of the State Government Committee, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, and a member of the Philadelphia Delegation. He was also a member of the Labor and Industry,
Liquor Control, and Urban Affairs Committees.
Keller said that he worked with the representative on making improvements to and expanding the Port of Philadelphia.
the work that Tommy and I did, we wouldn be able to have a modern container terminal, Keller said. just so sorry that he didn live to see the fruits of his labor.
Mr. Blackwell colleagues from the black caucus remembered him fondly.
was an honor to serve with Tommy, said State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, who is now the secretary of the caucus, in a statement. was always a man of integrity and compassion. He had a true vision and was a steward of his community.
In 2009, Mr. Rep. Robert Brady as a community liaison. At the time of his death, he was the director of Brady South Philadelphia office.
hard for me to find the words to explain the loss of Tommy, Brady said in a statement. death was a shock and he will be missed. First and foremost, he was an all round great guy. He was a man who followed in his father footsteps and was committed to his community and public service. He always went the extra mile.
Mr. Blackwell first marriage ended in divorce. He had planned an October wedding to Dawn Blackson.
In addition to his fiancee and stepmother, he is survived by children Thomas W. VI, Sheena Blackwell, and Charles Blackwell; three sisters; several grandchildren; 12 nieces and nephews;
and several grandchildren.