Several weeks ago I was generously gifted with a fantastic photo collection from a former member of the San Diego Chargers Backers. Since that day, I have been busy scanning, cropping and captioning the images, putting them together in a special photo gallery to be enjoyed by readers of Tales from the American Football League. I am now very pleased to bring to you all the Pat & Elaine Blackmore Photo Collection, which will permanently reside in the PHOTO GALLERIES section of this site.
This all happened quite by chance. One day, out of the blue, I was emailed through the site by a man named Moises. Moises said that he had been working around the home of an older gentleman who had been a member of the Chargers Backers. This man would soon be moving out of state, and was cleaning out his house of more than 40 years. He had a lot of old Chargers photographs, and Moises thought that they should go to someone that could preserve them, rather than being thrown away. He went online and googled “Chargers Historian,” and my name popped up, so he was reaching out, hoping that I had an interest.
I met with the gentleman, Mr. Pat Blackmore, several times over the next few weeks, both to gather photos and speak with him about his time with the team. I came away not only with stacks of wonderful images, but also an appreciation for a life very well-lived.
Pat Blackmore moved to San Diego as a junior high student during World War II. He went to St. Augustine High School, and soon after graduation got a job selling cars at Pearson Ford. He spent the next sixty-plus years in the industry.
When the Chargers came to San Diego in 1961, they set up their offices in the Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard. At the time, Pat Blackmore was working at a used car lot one block down the street. Like many others, he got caught up in the excitement of the Chargers, and became a founding member of the Chargers Backers, the official team fan club. In these early years, the Backers were closely-involved with the team, and Pat and his wife, Elaine, became friends with many of the players. Holidays, baby showers and daily tasks were often spent with the Dave Kocourek family, Keith Kinderman and his wife, Jacque MacKinnon, or Claude Gibson. When parties were thrown, all were welcome, from 4’10” jockey, Esteban Medina, to 6’9″ Ernie Ladd, and everyone in-between.
Pat and Elaine were an adventurous, fun-loving couple. A pilot in his spare time, Pat once rented a plane and flew to a Chargers Backers picnic at the Rough Acres Ranch, the Chargers infamous 1963 training camp in Boulevard, California. The Chargers Backers often flew with the team on road trips, and the Blackmore’s were part of the group. They also travelled extensively in Mexico, and became founding members of a group that annually took toys and gifts to underprivileged children in San Felipe.
Through it all, Elaine was seldom without her camera, and she did a wonderful job of documenting their lives. From football trips to Kansas City and New York to Pat & Jacque MacKinnon building a fence in the backyard, Elaine captured it all on film. In building this gallery, I included many photos that are not directly ties to football in an effort to help illustrate life in the 1960s. While there are photos of the Chargers vs. the Broncos and Tobin Rote Day, you will also find Elaine’s 1964 Mustang convertible, Coney Island in 1968, and President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade driving down El Cajon Boulevard on his way to give the commencement speech at a San Diego State graduation in June 1963, just five months before he was killed in Dallas, Texas.
There was a great deal of luck/good fortune/serendipity/karma/kismet/blessings or whatever else you want to call it that went into my receiving these photos, and being able to share them. Over a 50-year journey, they travelled from Elaine to Pat to Moises to me. I, for one, and so very grateful that they did.