September 28, 2007
Tribute by Dean Jack Guttenberg, Capital University Law School
This week, Capital University and the legal community lost a truly great man with the passing of Josiah H. Blackmore II, Capital University’s 12th president and former Law School Dean. Joe had an incredible legal mind and was a mentor, teacher, scholar and friend. His wisdom, leadership and charisma were inspiring. He was undoubtedly admired, appreciated and deeply respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. Joe was a modern day Renaissance man. Who else could discuss Greek philosophy, which he read in the original Greek, or complex conflicts of laws issues, all while birthing an alpaca, shoveling the barn or affectionately discussing the individual traits of his alpacas.
His multitude of contributions to the legal community, Capital University and the Law School (see www.law.capital.edu) will have a lasting impact. In 2005, recognizing his lifetime commitment to the Columbus legal community, he was awarded the Columbus Bar Foundation’s Presidential Award for Lifetime Service. Ever the public servant, he was currently serving a term on the Ohio Ethics Commission.
When we think of Joe, we will picture his jovial smile and remember a sincere gentleman and a man of deep character, intellect, eloquence and ethics. He will forever live on in our hearts with deep affection.
Josiah: Like Which There Can Be No Other
By Bruce Campbell
All of the scholarly, professorial, deanly, presidential and public service details of Joe’s life are fully recounted in other tributes. To me, his essence is revealed in personal experience. I never saw him teach a class, run a law school or a university, write the rules and laws of Ohio or sit on a board. What I did see him do on countless occasions was to make vivid the concept of joie de vivre.
In one of Joe’s speeches – and what a beguiling speaker he was -- he introduced me to a biblical phrase “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” These sane and calming words, gave me much salsa then and later. For Joe, the words were not just a mantra but a habit of life. He fairly exuded serenity while fully engaged in “evil of the day.”
For another speech to a Columbus Bar gathering, he took as his theme the Greek goddess of justice, Themis (pronounced thee mas', he insisted) and wove a tale of the nobleness of the pursuit of justice that inspired even the cynical among us.
At a Chinese restaurant with Joe, me and several other lawyers someone speculated as to what the Chinese characters in a wall hanging meant. Joe, as if it were the most natural thing to do, translated the phrase and, using the paper table cloth, proceeded to instruct us on the formation of the Chinese characters, what each represented and how they differed from their Japanese counterparts. I considered but rejected the possibility that he made it all up.
But then there was the grand old farm, the century tree, the prized rare books he so generously passed around to his company as if they were not invaluable. And, of course, there were “the girls,” the herd of Alpacas he brought from Peru (with two “guard Lamas”– the Alpacas being too friendly and curious for their own good). In the company of his good wife (who knitted the precious wool into magnificent sweaters and such), here was Joe, completely in his element. Simultaneously a force of nature and at one with it. This was Joe to me.