MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Funeral services have been set for former Mount Vernon Mayor Ronald Blackwood, who passed away last week at the age of 91.
Locally, a public service has been set for noon on Thursday at the Grace Baptist Church, with a mass scheduled for Saturday in New Symrna Beach, Florida, where he died last week due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, according to his obituary.
An immigrant, Blackwood was born in Jamaica before making his way to Mount Vernon, where he was elected as mayor in 1985, making him the first black mayor elected in New York State. He would serve his community for several decades, acting as a member of the Westchester County Board of Supervisors and City Councilman before his ascension to mayor.
Current Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas called Blackwood “a man of the people,” who “made you feel as if you were the center of the universe.”
“He was an example of what a public servant should be. You could always find him walking up and down the streets, connecting with residents, responding to their wants and needs,” he added. “He was truly a man of the people. When he spoke to you, he made you feel as if you were the center of the universe. He was a leader not a politician, a man who worked with grace and grit.
“The entire City of Mount Vernon is in mourning at the passing of former Mayor Ronald Blackwood. Mayor Blackwood was a true man of the people. He was always personable, accessible and never forgot that he served Mount Vernon. His love for the city is something that I share and his leadership is something I seek to emulate.”
In his obituary, it cites that Blackwood “lived by his motto: ‘life is service. the one who progresses is the one who gives his fellow being a little more, a little better service.’”
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity at 612 N. Ridgewood Ave., Suite A, Edgewater Florida 32132.