Mary “Jean” Parkinson Blackston

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mary “Jean” Parkinson Blackston passed away on April 1, 2024, at the age of 94 years. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 2:00 P.M. at First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Andy Spaulding officiating. Visitation will be prior to the service beginning at 12:00 noon in the fellowship hall. A private graveside service will be held in Oxford Memorial Cemetery. Waller Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Born in Vidalia, Georgia, July 11, 1929, to Minister William Walker Parkinson and Martha M. Parkinson, she was the youngest of four children, known affectionately as “Sis” to her three older brothers. Jean grew up in Covington, Tennessee, attending Byars-Hall High School, and upon graduation she attended Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina. She met and married U.S. Navy veteran Joseph “Joe” Wiley Blackston, of Lancaster, S.C., who was attending Erskine on the G.I. Bill.

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The Blackstons moved to Oxford, Mississippi in 1971 and the family affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church of Oxford. Following completion of a Masters Degree, Jean taught reading and English to High School and Junior High students until her retirement. She was also an eager and active volunteer with the University of Mississippi reading lab, assisting and tutoring untold numbers with reading or learning disabilities, and assisting scores of foreign-born Ole Miss students with conversational English. A lifelong learner, teacher, reader, and scholar, she devoured books and periodicals, and loved to play bridge, scrabble, and word games.

Jean was a devoted mother, dedicated friend, educator, and perhaps equally important in her eyes, a wonderful friend to animals, especially stray dogs, cats, wild birds, and other creatures in need. She was a volunteer for the Oxford Tourism Bureau for almost two decades, and served with Meals On Wheels for several years. Jean was an extremely active member of First Presbyterian for more than 50 years, with her Church serving as a focal point of her life. For many years Jean helped deliver the previous Sunday church sanctuary flowers to members who were “shut ins” or hospitalized. One of the other highlights of her week was the fellowship and exercise with a group she helped to initiate – the Senior Aquatics program at the Turner Center pool.

She loved our Ole Miss Rebels and was an avid fan of all intercollegiate sports. Jean was a fixture in the Grove and, even in her late 80’s, was attending football and basketball games along with family and friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Joseph Wiley Blackston, Ed.D, her three brothers: Thomas Parkinson, William Parkinson, and James Parkinson, and her grand-daughter Lauren Taylor Rike. Jean is survived by her three children: Joseph Walker Blackston of Jackson, Mississippi, Jennifer Jane Blackston Martinez of Los Angeles, California, and William Matthew Blackston of Richmond, Virginia, and three grandchildren: James Walker Blackston of Arlington, Virginia, and Anna Blackston and Ellie Blackston of Richmond, Virginia.

Donations in Jean’s behalf are requested to be directed to the Joseph W. Blackston Memorial Scholarship Endowment of the University of MS, or to any “no kill” animal shelter/rescue (search