Fran Blacklock, devoted to preserving land

  • Article by: BEN COHEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 8, 2008 - 12:08 AM

She and her husband, well-known photographer Les Blacklock, founded the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary.

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Fran Blacklock

Photo: JOEY MCLEISTER, STAR TRIBUNE

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Fran Blacklock of Moose Lake, Minn., a music teacher, singer and businesswoman, was committed to conserving wild lands and to encouraging the arts.

Blacklock, nature photographer Les Blacklock's partner in marriage and work, died March 19 in Moose Lake. She was 93.

Fran Jordan, a Minneapolis native and music education graduate of the University of Minnesota, was a former music teacher and organizer of choral groups who had worked for Northwestern Life Insurance and the Minneapolis Star. In the 1940s, she met World War II veteran and photographer Les Blacklock in a ceramics class. "He swept her off her feet" after he made her a fawn of clay, said her niece Catherine Jordan of Minneapolis.

They married in 1947. Home was a fire shack in Moose Lake. "Their lives were really entwined in such an amazing way, both in their commitment to the land and the arts," said her niece. "She organized the business, and did all the marketing."

They moved to Eden Prairie in 1953. There, she led a couple of choral groups and also became a member of the Eden Prairie Parks Board. She and her husband initiated efforts to save the lakes from development.

"If it weren't for my parents, the parkland on Anderson Lakes wouldn't have been developed," said her son, photographer Craig Blacklock.

After the family moved back to Moose Lake in the 1970s, they acquired surrounding woodland to preserve it. There, with Fran as a cofounder, they created the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary.

Poet and family friend Francine Sterle is one of about a hundred artists who have had fellowships at the sanctuary. "She was just this incredible presence that you wanted in your life," Sterle said.

Les Blacklock died in 1995. In addition to her son, Craig, she is survived by a brother, Ross Jordan of Cloquet, and a granddaughter. A private memorial service will be held in May.

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