Richard died, truly loved and at peace, at the Rotary Hospice in Stratford on January 15th, 2020, after a lengthy illness. Beloved husband of Barbara Collier, loving father of Robin Blackburn McBride (Hugh) and Edward Blackburn (Eunae). Dearest Grandpa of Charlotte Klein, John and Stephen Blackburn. Predeceased by his parents, John and Mabel (Mills) Blackburn, his brother Derek and his sister-in-law Monique. Richard is survived by his sister Joan Bradshaw and his nieces Carole Rowe (Todd) and Lisa Bradshaw (Ken).

Richard was born in Sault Ste Marie and raised in Stratford, Ontario. He completed his B.A. at Trinity College, University of Toronto, then continued with his graduate studies at the Department of Islamic Studies, U of T, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. He remained at the University of Toronto where he taught Arabic and also Ottoman history. A dedicated and respected professor, he still received, well into retirement, letters from former students expressing their gratitude for his laying the groundwork for their academic careers.  Richard served terms as both Associate Chair and Chair of the Department that is now entitled Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations.

After years of meticulous research and translation from Arabic, Richard published, with the prestigious German Ergon Verlag, the book Journey to the Sublime Porte, the travel diary of an official sent on a diplomatic mission from Mecca to Istanbul in the years 1557 to 1558.  After 42 years as an academic, Richard retired with Barbara to Stratford, where he had time to pursue his passion for postal history. He won a Vermeil award at the “Royal”, the National Stamp Show and Exhibition in 2013 for his exhibit on the Early Post Offices of the Huron Road.  Richard loved, his home, visits from his family, books, his garden, his Pontiac TransAm (“Cloud”) and his pub nights with his buddies and staff at the Boar’s Head. He and Barbara enjoyed many trips abroad but none better than the annual visit to enjoy the magic of Manitoulin Island.

Thanks to Dr. Curtis Irvine, Dr. S. Ernst at the London Regional Cancer Centre, the doctors and nurses at Stratford General and London Victoria Hospitals. The family is grateful to the PSWs of One Care and nurse Lydia of Care Partners for their loving home care. Heartfelt thanks goes to the medical staff and volunteers of the Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth who cared for Richard with compassion and dedication during his final weeks.

Visitation at W.G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron St., Stratford, Sunday, Jan. 19th from 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral service and reception at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 9 Douro St., Stratford at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 20th, 2020. Interment at Avondale Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth or St. Paul’s Anglican Church through the funeral home.  519.271.7411

Service Information

Sunday, January 19, 2020
from 4-7 p.m.
W.G. Young Funeral Home

Funeral Service
Monday, January 20th at 11 a.m.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church
9 Douro St.,

St. Paul’s Church

Avondale Cemetery
4 Avondale Ave.,

Memorial Donations
Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth
St. Paul’s Anglican Church


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W.G. Young Funeral Home
430 Huron Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 5T7

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