August 2009

In Memoriam

David Blackbird

August 2009

1/5/1930 ~ 7/3/09

David Blackbird, one of the founding members of Humanists of Utah, died July 03, 2009 at the Utah State Veterans Nursing Home of causes incident to age. He had been in a nursing home since September 2007.He was born January 5, 1930, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Mark and Mary Lois Brown Blackbird. He spent his early years in various Texas and Oklahoma locations. His father died when he was 10 and the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where he attended Sunset High School. He got his BA from Texas Tech in Lubbock. He met his second wife Leona in Salt Lake City, where they were married in 1990.

David Blackbird

David spent 30 years in the US Air Force, retiring in 1981 with the rank of Colonel. He served in Korea, and then spent eight years based in Arkansas flying refueling tankers. The Air Force then sent him to the University of Pittsburgh to get a Master’s degree in International Relations and Public Affairs and he became involved with Military Intelligence. He served two tours of duty in the Pentagon and also spent time in Vietnam and Germany. He finished his Air Force career at NORAD in Colorado Springs.

He spent his retirement happily volunteering. He was a political animal and worked tirelessly for various local Democratic candidates. He was a lifelong member of the Unitarian Universalist Church. He was also a member of the League of Women Voters, the NAACP. He loved his family, news, politics and history. He was a Life Master Bridge player. He was interested in all people. He is survived by his brother Richard (Shally) of Ft. Worth; his wife Leona Blackbird of Salt Lake City; four children – Franc (Ken Bowers) of Sacramento; Sam of Tyler, Texas; Joe of Lawrence, Kansas; and Martha of Dallas, Texas; – and two grandchildren. The family wishes to thank Bristol Hospice and the staff at the USVNH, especially Linda Killian.

There will be a memorial service for Dave on Sunday, August 16 at 2:00 PM at the First Unitarian Church.

–Leona Blackbird

President’s Message

Time flies. Not to long ago I noticed that we are chose to the end of the first decade of the 21st century. Wow. It is also strange to me that on one hand things like the fear about the Y2K melt down seem not so long ago, but 9/11 seems like a lifetime in the past.

Many of the challenges of the future for humanity are, of course, the continuation of today’s challenges: the world financial crisis, poverty, environmental degradation, and the human proclivity for war, just to name a few of the biggies.

As individuals we should all support efforts to address the large problems, but as a local group, Humanists of Utah has to pick its battles. Over the last few years we have been instituting two special events. “Darwin Day with Humanists of Utah,” which advocates for and defends science, while celebrating Darwin’s birthday and his contribution to science. Our newest event is “Thomas Paine Day,” which will endeavor to explore the history of the founding fathers and their thoughts. To show and state the truth about these men and their time, and to challenge those who would rewrite the past to their liking.

By the way, a related news item was sent to me by board member Julie Mayhew about an effort in Texas to change the social studies curriculum to “portray the founding of the Unites States as having Biblical motivations.” This is a perfect example of why we need to have a “Thomas Paine Day.”

Our annual Picnic will be coming up soon on August 13th and will again be held in the comfortable backyard of member John Young (2127 South 1900 East). We will start at 6:00 PM with drinks and conversation. We will fire up the grill at 6:30 PM. This year we have invited SHIFT (Secular Humanist, Inquiry and Freethought) group from the University of Utah to join us. Come join us and enjoy an evening with old friends, good food, and a chance to meet some new friends.

September’s general meeting will feature Flo Wineriter as our speaker. I asked Flo to be our speaker and inform us about humanism and especially about its beginnings in Utah. Flo is one of the individuals who started our Humanists of Utah chapter of the American Humanist Association and has been active both nationally and locally for many years. I can’t think of anybody more capable of informing us about humanism than Flo.

Our “Thomas Paine Day” will be in October and is still being planned.

I hope to see you at the picnic. It will be a great way to start our new season of meetings and events.

–Robert Lane
President, HoU