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Retired Jeannette doctor enjoying his relaxation time

| Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:23 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Dr. Lawrence “Buzz” Blackburn is a retired physician who served at Westmoreland and Jeannette hospitals.

A resident of the Bel Air Place in Jeannette, Dr. Lawrence “Buzz” Blackburn loves to “putz around the yard and read.”

Blackburn retired from practicing medicine about 16 years ago. He was on staff at Westmoreland and Jeannette hospitals for many years and maintained an office on West Third Street in Greensburg.

“There was a Blackburn practicing medicine from that office for 100 years,” said Blackburn.

The office was opened in 1896 by Blackburn's aunt, Dr. Ida Blackburn who was the first female doctor in Greensburg. His father and then Blackburn both joined the practice, which he closed upon his retirement in 1996.

Blackburn attended Greensburg High School and then attended the University of Pennsylvania for both his undergraduate degree and his medical degree. He furthered his post-doctoral education at the University of Pittsburgh. He trained as an internist with specialties in cardiology and diabetes.

“I was responsible for setting up the first cardiac intensive care unit at Westmoreland Hospital,” said Blackburn.

Blackburn is married to the former Kathleen Castine Blackburn, a lifelong Jeannette resident. She is also employed in the medical field and works as a registered nurse at Westmoreland Excela in cardiac care.

Blackburn has three children, Elizabeth Stienberg who resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Gary, and has two children. Both of Blackburn's grandchildren are college graduates. Max works on the Columbia River in the State of Washington and Raya works in the restaurant business in Washington, D.C.

His daughter Ruth Blackburn is a music teacher in Boston, where she also serves on the board of the school where she teaches.

His son Philip Snyder, a Jeannette graduate, and his wife, Heather, live in Jeannette and he is employed by Rampart Security.

“We travel down to Key West once a year,” said Blackburn, who enjoys traveling. “I love to do that.”

The couple has also driven cross country to California and back.

“It was the best trip we ever took,” said Blackburn, as he talks about visiting the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Yellowstone and Yosemite.

A member of the Jeannette Salvation Army Advisory Board of Directors, and a past chairman, Blackburn is also is involved with the First United Methodist Church in Greensburg.

“We enjoy the people that we meet in Jeannette, and I enjoy living here because Kathy has a big family here,” said Blackburn.

To know more about medicine, cross country travel, or volunteering get to know neighbor Buzz Blackburn.

Editor's note: Meet Your Neighbors is a recurring feature in The Jeannette Spirit. If you know of a neighbor with an interesting life story to tell, someone who deserves some recognition for volunteer work, a resident with a special talent or an avid collector who would like to be featured, call the Spirit at 724-838-5154 or send an email to

Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.