Obituary: In Memory of David Blackwell

(Photo by Michael Chipowsky)

David Lewis Blackwell, age 70, died on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at his home in Princeton. David was a passionate and engaged member of the Hopewell Valley community throughout his life, dedicated to studying and sharing local history, architecture, and genealogy. He was recently named Hopewell Township’s first official Town Historian in recognition of his life’s work, an honor which brought him great joy. He was a tireless advocate for historic preservation and local history education.

David was born and raised in Pennington by Harold Blackwell and Hazel Schneider Blackwell. At the age of ten, David discovered his love for family lore and historical research. He attended Hopewell Valley Central High School before training as an architect at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell. Throughout the years, his true love remained exploring the connections that defined his ancestors and the community. He was appointed to the Hopewell Township Historic Sites Committee and later became a founding member of the Hopewell Township Historic Preservation Commission. David was integral in researching and nominating dozens of historically significant sites to the Township’s register of Historic Places, and used his architectural background in renovating historic homes for his own family.

David was a longtime trustee of the Hopewell Valley Historical Society, having served as its President four times as well as its Secretary. Following his professional retirement in 2013, he continued his personal research, writing and assisting with numerous publications. In recent years, he held the position of archivist and curator for The Hopewell Museum. This position provided him with ongoing opportunities to interact with the public and schoolchildren. He loved to share his knowledge with others and freely gave of himself to many other researchers, authors, museum visitors, and descendants of Hopewell-area families. He contributed substantially to both Pennington Borough’s and Hopewell Borough’s recent 125th-anniversary celebrations.

David was loved and appreciated by all who knew him for his brilliant mind, remarkable memory, warmth, and wit. His impersonations of old British comedy sketches left his kids in stitches, while his vivid tales of yesteryear captivated history enthusiasts of all ages. He is irreplaceable to his colleagues, friends, and family. In devoting his life to preserving and celebrating our past, he wove himself into the fabric of our community and now holds an honored place in our local history among his ancestors.

David is survived by his five children, Rebecca of Mexico City, Morgan of Rye, NY; Andrew of Southbury, CT; Jessica and Sarah of Denver, CO; their mother, Barbara of Princeton; his six grandchildren Haley, Benjamin, Jolie, Katherine, Victoria, and Maisie; and his brother Thomas of Kissimmee, FL.

His family invites those who want to share remembrances of David to the viewing, which will take place from 4-8pm on Thursday, April 26th at Blackwell Memorial Home in Pennington. Burial at Harbourton Cemetery and a memorial gathering will be held on Friday.

Gifts in David’s memory may be made to The Hopewell Museum or the Hopewell Valley Historical Society.

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