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Claude Albert Blackwell
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Obituary for Claude Albert Blackwell

Black Mountain – Claude Albert Blackwell, age 89, passed away on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at Memorial Campus of Mission Hospitals.

He was the son of the late Clarence Houston and Icie Morgan Blackwell. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Ruth Ellen Blackwell, who died in 1976; his second wife, Helen Marie Blackwell, who died in 2008; a sister, Alpha Jane Blackwell and a brother, Houston Blackwell.

Claude was brought up not far from Black Mountain in Canton, NC, but before finishing high school, joined the US Navy in 1945. His father was a veteran of the Carolina cotton mills, passing on his well-earned reputation as a machinist to Claude. After a twenty two year Naval career, achieving the highest Navy non-officer rating of Master Chief Machinist Mate., he completed his high school credentials at age 85. He turned down offers of entering the storied career of a Navy “Mustang,” with the rank of a commissioned officer. He loved and lived all his life near, in and around machines of all calibers from mini-watches to massive turbines in small to the largest naval ships. He served in the engine rooms of pre-WWII vessels, the latest most sophisticated nuclear reactor-based machines in battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines, etc. He served as chief machinist in multiple overseas ports, naval shipyards as well as in other US Ports.

Retiring from the Navy in 1967 after 22 years, still seeking to work with machines, he joined the Grumman Corporation, becoming a specialist in “quality control,” with accent on machine pumps, traveling widely all over the world. He was based in Newport News, continuing to work on marine vessels, retiring in 1993. Seeking something to do, he volunteered for another 17 years at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital.
He was an active Shriner and Mason, gaining the rank of Grand Master Mason with the George W. Wright Masonic Lodge #346.

He is survived by two daughters, Rebecca Slaughter (Darrell), of Swannanoa and Janice Ellen Navin of Mt. Holly, NC; two grandchildren, Jason Slaughter and Stephanie Bailey (Robbie).

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, 2018 in the Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with Pastor Lynn Bledsoe and Navigator John Snell officiating. Burial will follow at Crawford/Ray Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends from 12:30 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. prior to the service at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to Shriners Children’s Hospital, P.O. Box 560666, Charlotte, NC 28256.

The care of Mr. Blackwell has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Claude Albert Blackwell, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Wells Funeral Home - Canton

3715 Asheville Highway
Canton, NC 28716





2:00 PM
Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home

3715 Asheville Hwy
Canton, NC 28716

Cemetery Details


Crawford/Ray Memorial Gardens

Hwy 19/23
Clyde, NC 28721


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