james blackburn
JAMES E BLACKBURN ( 1929-2020) James E Blackburn, of Steubenville OH, passed away in Weirton Medical Center surrounded by his loving family on Father’s Day June 21, 2020 at the age of 90. Jim was born December 13, 1929 in Steubenville OH and was the eldest of two sons to James M and Evangeline Morgan Blackburn. He attended Steubenville City schools and graduated from Jefferson Union High School in 1948. He served his country with the United States Marine Corps for four years from 1948-1952. Upon his return to the Ohio Valley from the military, Jim ventured into banking and was employed at First National Bank of Steubenville for several years. During this time, he met the love of his life Vincetta Sanders, and they married on November 15, 1958. Together for over 61 years, Jim & Vincetta have been blessed with two children and two grandchildren. Jim left the banking business and spent some time in real estate sales and eventually opened his own real estate business ( JEB Realty of Steubenville) where he sold homes and developed various real estate properties in the Ohio Valley. Later in his career, Jim became the Bailiff for Steubenville Municipal Court, working side by side with his close and longtime friend, The Honorable Judge Richard Powell. He was also a truant officer for Steubenville City Schools. Jim’s passion was dedicating his time and efforts in helping the student athletes and coaches in various sports programs at Big Red High School where he was affectionately known as “Mr. B”. His interests were in videography and he became Big Red’s sports video coordinator in 1978. Numerous area athletes and coaches will remember the 42+ years Jim served as Big Red Football and Basketball Videographer and collector of many Big Red school sports memorabilia. Jim also devoted many years as the announcer for both Big Red and Steubenville Legion Post 33 Baseball teams. He was recognized for his services to baseball when the Press Box at Vaccaro Field was named in his honor in 2008. In addition, in April 2020 he was honored and awarded by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association to its Hall of Honor for his long-standing dedication to area sports. Jim will be remembered for his genuine care and concern for all people, never saying no when asked to help others, and never expecting anything in return for his kind actions. His selfless nature was very evident to those who knew him. Many people have shared stories with the Blackburn family of their fond childhood memories of Jim driving them through Steubenville neighborhoods in his 1929 Antique Firetruck, often en route to Spahn’s Dairy for an ice cream treat. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Richard “Dick” Blackburn. He is survived by his wife, Vincetta Blackburn and son Richard Hayes Blackburn of Steubenville ; his daughter Julie Gresko and her husband George Gresko, his beloved grandchildren Andrew and Rensi Gresko, all of Weirton WV, sisters-in-law, Josephine Reale Blackburn and Bonnie Haspel Sanders, and several nieces and nephews. The public is invited to visit from 3-8 pm Thursday June 25th at Greco Hertnick Funeral Home 3219 Main Street Weirton. Visitors are asked to please wear masks inside the funeral home during calling hours to adhere to Covid-19 social distancing precautions. Private family burial services will be held on Friday June 26th at Union Cemetery Steubenville where Jim will be laid to rest overlooking Harding Stadium. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Steubenville High School James E Blackburn Scholarship Fund. Share tributes and memories or send a hug from home at www.grecohertnick.com. 304-748-3219.

Memories Timeline


  1. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

  2. So sorry to hear of Jim passing away. I am in Santa Barbara and can’t make it back for viewing but will stop by when possible. I will donate to SHS in his name and go to my church and light a candle today..R.I.P. With Sadness David Moitis

  3. What a great man….never forget the rides on his truck….all these yrs & never knew he was “Dickies” brother. Prayers & condemned rich & jie & families.

  4. Mr. Blackburn embodied “Big Red” in the truest sense of the words. His love for Big Red athletics was unmatched. He will certainly be missed. May the Lord bless his soul.

  5. Sending lots of love to you Julie and Rich. Your dad was an awesome man. I remember him being so involved with Big Red and also him driving kids around in his fire truck. Prayers to you both and your mom. Love Michelle Sullivan Brucker

  6. May the love of God surround you and your family during this difficult time, May you come to know that the love of God is with you always, May your memories of James E. Blackburn, give you peace, comfort and strength… Rest now in the arms of our Lord your mission on earth is complete. I thank you for your service to our Country and my Freedom. You will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers to the family of …. US Marine Veteran, James E. Blackburn, is “A True American Hero” God Bless† † Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 †

  7. Mom, Vickie and My family are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. We love you all very much!

  8. Thinking of your family at this difficult time. May Mr. Blackburn “Rest In Peace” and get to see every Big Red game from the best seat in the house.

  9. Mr. B was all about being Big Red. I remember he drove me to Warren my senior year during football to get my knee looked at by a doctor. If you ever needed a video/picture/program he was the man and now his son Ritchie has taken over the reigns in that department. I remember his colorful use of the English language but most of all I remember him being “Big Red”. Our condolences to the Blackburn family during this time. Mr. B will be missed. God bless and rest in peace.

  10. Vincetta, I am so sorry for your loss. Jim always had a smile on his face. I will always remember how gleeful all the kids were when he took them for rides at the club in his fire truck. I was across the hall from you when Richie was born. Jim made you and everyone else on the floor so happy when he announced,”He’s perfect”!

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

  1. Candle Selection 1
  2. Candle Selection 2
  3. Candle Selection 3
  4. Candle Selection 4
  5. Candle Selection 5
  6. Candle Selection 6
  7. Candle Selection 7
  8. Candle Selection 8