MOUNT CARROLL—Brian Blackman, 56, of Mount Carroll, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at the Alden-Park Strathmore Nursing Center in Rockford, after a year of trying to come back from two strokes.

Brian was born June 30, 1963, in Aberdeen, Md., the son of Donald Blackman and Betty Rausch. He had the opportunity to live in several different places when he was young, as the family followed his father's military career.

Through his life he lived in Maryland, Wisconsin, Germany, Arizona, Missouri, Kansas, and finally Illinois. His youngest brother and sister recall the days when they were little and they used to sit on his feet, holding on to his legs as he would walk around the house and carry them along.

He attended school in Whitehall, Wis. Brian's longest job was working at the Royal Dairy Farms in Garden City, Kan., where he worked 14 years. It was here at the farm where his co-workers gave him the nickname "Big Bear." One day at work he was watching as two men hoisted railroad ties, one by one. Brian wanted to help, and when the men turned around, Brian was carrying two railroad ties, one under each arm. The nickname stuck. Brian liked all kinds of music, watching Westerns, and driving his Dodge Dakota pickup.

Brian will be dearly missed by his two brothers, Miles Blackman of Marionville, Mo., and Keith Blackman of Kempner, Texas; two sisters, Sherri (Mike) Tresemer of Kent, Ill., and Christiene (Fran) Gable Jr. of Mount Carroll; a step-mother, Helen (Hoyt) Blackman of Garden City, Kan.; and two nieces and three nephews.

Brian was preceded in death by his parents. Donald and Betty.

A memorial service will be held at noon Saturday, March 21, at the Law-Jones Funeral Home in Mount Carroll. Visitation will be held from 10 a.m.-noon on March 21 at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association. Family and friends are invited to share in Brian's life at