Roderick H. Blackburn, UNH’s First All American, a native of Berlin, passed away on November 19, 2021 at the age of 82. He was the son of the late Elmer L. and Olivette A. (Roderick) Blackburn. Rod was a graduate of Notre Dame High School and the University of New Hampshire. Rod had an outstanding hockey career at Notre Dame whereas a goalie guided them to the first New England Schoolboy Championship in 1957. He was a graduate of UNH with a B.A. in economics from the Whittemore School of Business. At UNH, he was selected as the first UNH hockey player to be selected to the All-New England, All East, and to the NCAA All-American team in 1961. After graduation from UNH, Rod entered the US Marine Corp as a 2nd Lieutenant and was an executive officer, part of the first Marine units to land in Vietnam in 1965 where they were assigned to secure an area where one of the first airfields was being built in Chu Lai Vietnam. After his active duty was completed, he remained active in the US Marine reserves where he eventually achieved the rank of Major and served for 14 years. Rod, in addition to playing for the Berlin Maroons in 1961 and 1962, where he helped the team reach the finals in the National AHA Tournaments, continued his hockey career after his active duty ended in the US Marines and was a member of the US National hockey team in 1966 and 1967 competing in many international tournaments around the world. He returned to the New England area where he ran a successful construction company in the Weymouth, Mass area. Rod eventually returned to Berlin in the early 1990’s to care for his ailing mother and remained in Berlin since. He has been a very supportive member of the Berlin community where he has provided substantial financial support to many community and statewide organizations such as the Berlin Historical Society, the Notre Dame arena, the recent redevelopment of the Berlin Ski Jump along with the UNH hockey program and numerous veteran’s organizations including being a life Member of the NH Veteran’s Association and was a charter member of the Individual Investors Association. Many of these organizations will continue to receive financial support through his use of the NH Charitable Foundation. Rod was selected as a charter member of the State of NH hockey hall of fame in 2002, the UNH athletic hall of fame in 1983 and more recently Rod had been nominated for acceptance into the UNH ROTC hall of fame.
Rod is survived by his sister Ann Marie Bills of Fresh Meadows, NY; his longtime loyal friend and companion Pamela Couture of Berlin, NH; and a cousin Regis Roderick of Bedford, MA.
SERVICES: Calling hours will be held on Tuesday November 30 from 5 to 7 PM at the Bryant & Fleury-Patry Funeral home, 180 Hillside Ave., Berlin, NH. A funeral service with full military honors will be held on Wednesday December 1, 2021 at 10 AM at the funeral home. Interment will follow the service. Masks are required for all of those attending. Donations in his memory may be made to either the Berlin – Coos Historical Society or to a charity of one’s choice. Online guestbook at www.bryantfuneralhome.net.