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Gus “Tom” Blackgrave, 88, of Jasper died at home on January 24, 2023. He was the son of Hilbert and Catherine (Dittmer) Blackgrave.  Gus proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1961. During his service in the 101st Airborne, Gus met and married a German Fraulein in Berlin. Two children were born of this marriage.

Gus was a longtime employee of the Jasper Corporation and Kimball International, retiring in 1997. He liked wearing hats, eating fried chicken, shopping for antiques, taking walks in nature, and dipping his feet in the cold stream at Spring Mill State Park. His rule? Whoever could keep their feet in the icy cold water the longest was the winner. He could fix anything and as long as he was able, he’d lend a hand to others to repair, install, or improve whatever needed to be done. He acted as a moving company for his daughter for many years and reminded her on a regular basis that she only paid him in sandwiches. A talented woodworker, he partnered with his son to carve and sell beautiful walking sticks. He developed a passion for photography, and it became a source of great pride. He traveled to favorite locations across the state and country, always in search of the perfect shot of wildlife and landscapes. His patience paid off, and his many photos are stunning. He was also an avid birder. He was thrilled by the resurgence of the bald eagle in Southern Indiana and equally delighted by the pretty hummingbirds who visited his backyard.

Gus is survived by his children; Marina and Will Gray of Seattle, and Michael Blackgrave of San Antonio; his sister and brother-in-law Nelda and Ron Mendel of Jasper, who lovingly provided care and support during his final years; his sister Carol Durst of Petersburg; two grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and good friends he made along the way. He was preceded in death by four brothers, Hilbert, Charles, Robert, and William; and three sisters, Mary Freyberger, Bettye Howard, and Ruth Kern.

Everyone who knew Gus is asked to remember him in their own way—raise a glass, watch a sunset, sit on a bench and enjoy the world around you. A celebration of life will be planned for a later date. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the National Park Foundation or to a favorite park.

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