EMSDALE – After more than three decades a local man killed in a ruthless crime spree is being honoured.
Many years have passed since the senseless deaths of Chester Blackmore and Const. Rick Verdecchia.
In July of 2008, a bridge on Highway 11 at the north entrance to Utterson/Port Sydney was dedicated to Verdecchia, however until now there was no honour for Blackmore.
On Saturday, Oct. 6 at noon family and friends will stand at the site where he was senselessly murdered to honour him.
The gas station where he worked is no longer there and is now no more than a section of land between the exit from Highway 11 onto Highway 518/Deer Lake Road and Emsdale Road, what used to be the old Highway 11.
Blackmore’s wife Merle is no longer alive to see the honour being bestowed to her husband in the form of a stone monument, but according to her sister Mae White, there will be many members of the family there that day. The date for the celebration coincides with their family reunion so there may be upwards of 150 people standing on that small plot of land.
“We thought it would be nice to do this for Chester,” she said.
Chester Blackmore was one of three victims of a shooting spree that began the morning of Jan. 27, 1981 with the theft of rifles in Mattawa.
The Jan. 7, 1981 edition of the Almaguin News reports that Blackmore was on shift at the Ultramar Gas Station that once stood at the corner of Highways 11 and 518 when he was shot and killed after filling a vehicle with $14 in gas around 12:30 p.m.
About one hour later, Const. Rick Verdecchia stopped a car believed to have been involved in a hit and run accident. He radioed in to the Huntsville OPP detachment stating that everything was fine. That was the last they heard from him. His body was found hours later in a snow bank.
Just outside Orillia, around 2:14 a.m. Const. Neil Hurtubise called in to the Orillia detachment to say he was pulling over a speeding car. He too was shot, but managed to return too his car, radioed for help and survived.