Rodney Blackburn Obituary, Death – Roderick Blackburn, who was born in Berlin and was the first All-American to play for the University of New Hampshire, passed away on November 19, 2021. He was 82 years old. He was the son of Elmer L. and Olivette A. (Roderick) Blackburn, both of whom passed away before him. Rod earned his degree in physics from the University of New Hampshire after attending Notre Dame High School.
Rod had a successful collegiate hockey career at Notre Dame, when the team won the first New England Schoolboy Championship in 1957 thanks to the efforts of their goalie. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the Whittemore School of Business at the University of New Hampshire. In 1961, while playing hockey at the University of New Hampshire, he made history by becoming the first player in UNH hockey history to be named to the All-New England, All East, and NCAA All-American teams. After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, Rod joined the United States Marine Corps as a second lieutenant and served as an executive officer.
His unit was among the first Marine units to arrive in Vietnam in 1965, and their mission there was to protect an area where one of the country’s earliest airfields was being constructed in Chu Lai. Following the completion of his active duty, he continued his involvement in the United States Marine reserves, where he finally attained the rank of Major and served for a total of 14 years. In addition to playing for the Berlin Maroons in 1961 and 1962, years in which he contributed to the team’s success in the National AHA Tournaments, Rod continued his hockey career after his active duty in the United States Marine Corps came to an end.
In 1966 and 1967, he was a member of the United States National hockey team, which participated in a variety of international tournaments all over the world. He moved his family back to the New England region and established a prosperous construction business in the Weymouth, Massachusetts region. After a while, Rod ended up going back to Berlin in the early 1990s to take care of his sick mother, and he has been in Berlin ever since then.
He has been a very supportive member of the Berlin community, where he has provided substantial financial support to many community and statewide organizations, including 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 being a charter member of the Individual Investors Association. He has also been a member of the Berlin Ski Jump since its inception.