University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering

In memoriam: Perry Lynnfield Blackshear, Jr.
(July 19, 1921 - December 4, 2018)


The Department of Mechanical Engineering mourns the passing of Professor Perry Blackshear, age 97, who died peacefully on St. Simon's Island in the presence of family and beloved caregivers.

He graduated from Georgia Tech with a BS, went into Army Officer Candidate School, served in WW 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, Ohio, where he received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering. There he met Sheboygan, Wisconsin native and pediatric physician Gertrude Juliana Liebl, whom he asked to marry on their first date. They married in 1948. Five children followed, and the couple transitioned to Mahtomedi, Minnesota, where a sixth child was born. In 1958, Professor Blackshear's entire professional career thereafter was spent teaching, where he became a professor at the University of Minnesota.

During his 48 years with the university he worked on annual cycle thermal energy storage, fire research, and in the last half of his career started the Bioengineering Program. He 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, Professor Blackshear 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.

Arrangements are entrusted into the Care of Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home