Ronald Blackstone, national service industry executive, former Illinois State Board of Education member, school board volunteer
OLYMPIA FIELDS, IL –(ENEWSPF)–December 31, 2012—Ronald Blackstone, a national service industry business executive and former member of the Illinois State Board of Education, enjoyed an “intentional, purposeful and very productive life.”
Blackstone, 74, president of RJB Properties, Inc., Orland Park, a national management firm that provides food, janitorial and security services, died suddenly at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on December 26.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Blackstone was a graduate of Hughes High School where he ran cross country and competed in the State of Ohio finals two consecutive years. He was a member of the 1955 basketball team that was runner up in the Class A finals. During his Hughes years, he was a proud member of the Black social club, the Chancellors.
Blackstone earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Knoxville College in 1960 where he was a campus leader and a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He played on the Knoxville College Bulldogs, which won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in 1957-58. He also played basketball on a Public Recreation team that consisted of players from many colleges.
He moved to the Chicago area in 1965 and earned an MBA degree from the University of Chicago in 1981.
“Ron had a lifelong love of managing his successful business, serving the community and helping young people,” said his widow, Dr. Blondean Davis, former Chief of Schools and Regions of the Chicago Public Schools who now serves as Superintendent of Matteson District 162 and CEO of Southland College Prep Charter High School in Richton Park.
“Ron led a very intentional, purposeful and productive life.” she added.
As a former high school and college athlete, Blackstone expressed his love of youth and education through many volunteer coaching positions in the south suburban community.
Blackstone founded his minority business management firm in 1985 and grew it from serving one Wendy’s restaurant in Chicago to providing facilities management and janitorial services to scores of college campuses, commercial office buildings, industrial sites, convention centers and military bases around the U.S.
Among his clients have been Northrop Grumman, McCormick Place and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Blackstone served as a trustee of Thornton High School District 205 Academic Enrichment Foundation. He was elected to two terms (1979- 1983; 1987-1998) on the Homewood Flossmoor High School District Board of Education, including service as its vice president and president.
From 1983-1987, he was a member of the Illinois State Board of Education. In 1992, he was the Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress 2nd Congressional District.
Blackstone was also a member of the board of directors of Roseland Hospital, Great Lakes Bank and the Charles E. Gavin Foundation. In the past, he served on the boards of the West Loop Gate Foundation and Chicago State University Business School.
Blackstone is survived by a son, Ronald Joseph (Joe) Blackstone and daughter-in-law Jamie Mohn. He is the proud grandfather of granddaughter, Jessie Blackstone.
Visitation will be Thursday, January 3, at 10:00 a.m., with a service to follow at 12 noon, at the House of Hope, 752 E. 114th Street, Chicago. Arrangements are being handled by the A. R. Leak Funeral Home, Country Club Hills, IL.