George Montague (Monty) Blackketter, 82, of Bradenton, Florida, passed away on Friday, February 21, 2020. Monty was born on February 16, 1938, to Douglas W. Blackketter, and Tomye (Whidden) Blackketter.
Monty graduated from Manatee High School in 1956 as an officer in the Future Farmers of America, and received his B.A. Magna Cum Laude in 1991 from the University of South Florida. He was married to Barbara (Curry) Blackketter for over 57 years, and they lived together in Bradenton and throughout the southern U.S. while he served his country.
Chief Petty Officer (Monty) Blackketter began his military career as an armored tanker in the 211 Infantry Regiment, Tank Company, Florida Army National Guard, Palmetto, Florida, for three years and then served in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years. Monty had multiple deployments which included the USCGC Nemesis, during the Cuban Missile Crisis while operating in Havana Harbor; USCG Station Kodiak, AK, for Search and Rescue and aids to navigation; USCGC Point Welcome Squadron 1, Da Nang, Vietnam, serving as a gunner’s mate patrolling Vietnam rivers and the coastline while providing support by fire and boarding operations; USCG Marine Inspection Group, Tampa, FL, implementing safety and security for Tampa Bay commerce; USCGC Diligence, Key West, for illegal immigration and drug intervention in the middle Caribbean; Officer-in-Charge of the USCGC Patoka, for aids to navigation up the Mississippi River, Greenville, MS; USCGC Chippewa, and Lantana, Hickman, KY, for aids to navigation up the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. He was also part of the USCG marksmanship competition team whereas team leader he won numerous top marksmanship awards for the Coast Guard. In addition, he was honored and awarded the Officer in Charge Float pin, Cutterman and Coxswain Insignia, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal with three stars and Meritorious Unit Awards for both combat and stateside.
When Monty retired from his military career, he continued to serve his fellow veterans at the Manatee County Veterans Services Office and was the Veterans Officer of Sarasota County for over 10 years. Following his final retirement, Monty and Barbara Blackketter spent many years traveling across the country in their RV seeing family and friends, while still serving his fellow veterans through the VFW and many other veterans’ organizations.
One of his favorite hobbies was offshore fishing in his boat called Mullet and Grits with his beloved Mullet and Grits Crew: his brothers Ronny, Dave, Tom and brother-in-law, Jack; best friends Clyde Wiggins and Ray Dugai; and clean-up crew to include his son, grandsons and their friends. Monty also had an incredible “green thumb” which he learned from his mother, Tomye. He put endless hours into his impressive garden during his entire life, especially in his final years.
Monty is survived by his beloved wife, Barbara, and their three children: Kimberly Ann, Donna Jean (John Garrett), and Paul Anthony (Rhonda Ellis). He also is survived by two siblings, Ronald and MaryAnn (Candy), seven grandchildren: Katrina, Ryan, Matthew Cassondra, Chloe, Robert and Madison and six great-grandchildren. He loved and adored them all. While they were the light of his life, his love for his wife, Barbara, was first and foremost. After his passing, a note was found in a file Monty had prepared several years ago to be read upon his death. It reads: "To my wife: I'll never stop loving you. My life with you was perfect and if I could, I would do it all over again. See you on the other side. Love, your husband, Monty.”
Services will be held at the Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 SR 72, on 20 March 2020 @ 1:00 pm sharp. Please arrive early for a timely and uninterrupted service.
In lieu of flowers, please donate and support your local veterans’ organization or operationsecondchance.org, an organization near and dear to Monty’s heart for their support of his son, Paul, in his time of need.
Semper Paratus (Always Prepared)