Perry Lynnfield Blackshear Jr., 97 died peacefully on St. Simons Island, in the presence of family and beloved caregivers, on Dec. 4, 2018.
Blessed by time, parents, siblings, his wife and children, Perry was born in Atlanta and attended Spring Street Elementary School and Boys High School. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS, went into Army Officer Candidate School, served in World War II in North Africa and India-China-Burma, and then left the service in 1945 as a first lieutenant.
He moved north to attend Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, where he received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. There he met Sheboygan, Wis., native and pediatric physician, Gertrude Juliana Liebl, and he asked her to marry him on their first date. They married in 1948. Five children followed, and the couple transitioned to Mahtomedi, Minn., where a sixth child was born. Starting at the University of Minnesota in 1958, Perry’s entire professional career thereafter was spent teaching, where he became a professor.
During 48 years at the U he worked on annual cycle thermal energy storage, fire research, and, in the last half of his career, started the Bioengineering Program at the university, and worked on early versions of the left ventricular assist device, an implantable drug infusion pump and blood access devices for dialysis, among many others. In the 1970s, he anticipated the emerging field of climate science, founding the Steady State Earth Seminar series in response to the current debate about institutionalizing limits to growth — to cope with waste products of our civilization and establish the optimum population growth of the earth.
Of all his accomplishments, Perry was most proud of the time he spent caring for his wife Gertrude, throughout her long journey with Parkinson’s Disease, which ended in 2012.
Perry’s last years were spent on St. Simons Island, Ga., where he and Gertrude had honeymooned. He is survived by his brother David Philip Blackshear; and children, Perry Justin Blackshear, Edmund David Blackshear, Joseph Lynnfield Blackshear, Elizabeth Juliana Blackshear-Spang, David Alexander Blackshear, and Magdalene (DB Blackshear) Brandeis; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Arrangements are entrusted into the care of Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home, www.edomillerandsons.com.