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Obituaries & Guest Book

Dakota Michael Durning




Our caring and quick-witted son, Dakota Michael Durning (Blackwood), 28 of Hagerstown, MD passed away on April 28th, 2020. He was so loved by his parents, Sherrie & Jamie Blackwood of Hagerstown, MD and Shawn & Karen Durning of Baltimore, MD. He was also looked up to and loved by his siblings; Cali Durning & (Zac Smith) of Raleigh, NC, Harris Blackwood of Hagerstown, MD, Joseph Blackwood of Beloit, WI, and Brittny Blackwood of Chicago, IL. Dakota adored his maternal grandparents, Mike and Bev Cunningham of Hagerstown, MD. He was very loved by his paternal grandmother, Carol Miller of Mercersburg, PA. He was also supported and loved by other special family members; Jan, Alexa, and Emily Fauber, as well as Dustin Cunningham. 

Dakota was a 2009 graduate of North Hagerstown High School, where he enjoyed four years of Varsity Lacrosse. During his childhood, he also enjoyed playing Ice Hockey for the Hagerstown Bulldogs and was the assistant captain of the Washington County North Stars High School Hockey team. Growing up, he was a member of the Federal Little League Baseball Program. He was an avid video game competitor with many friends from all over the world, which included one special friend, Jade. Dakota was passionate about politics, space exploration, nature, and loved his American Eskimo Dogs, Demi and Noah. He enjoyed his position as shift leader at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store. He was particularly supportive and proud of his younger brother’s hockey career with the New Jersey Rockets Hockey Club. 
For those of you who have crossed paths with him can remember him as a caring, fun-loving, class clown who always wanted to make people laugh and would give you the shirt off of his back. Enjoy heaven until we get there…
At this time, due to COVID-19 regulations, the celebration of his life will be held at a later date. A private service will be held at Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home 1331 Eastern Blvd. North, Hagerstown, MD.
Online condolences may be expressed at 



Guest Book

Dear Sherrie, My heart goes out to you & your family. At a loss for words, I pray that you will trust in the Lord who will never leave you or forsake you. May you also find comfort in the love of family & friends as the memory of Dakota lives on.

JoAnn Forsyth
Hagerstown, Maryland

Dakota and my son Patrick met in school and they became fast friends. Dakota spent a lot of time at our house, and it wasn’t long before we considered him a part of our family. He called us his other mom and dad, and we called him our adopted son. Sherrie and Jamie made Patrick a part of their family as well. If Dakota and Patrick weren’t at our house, they could usually be found at Sherrie and Jamie’s. Dakota and Patrick shared a love of video and online gaming. They spent hours playing them, and often had overnight gaming marathons with their other friends. More than once, they heard “Keep it down guys; we’re trying to sleep!”. I really didn’t mind the noise because the were having so much fun, and I loved hearing them laugh. (And they laughed a lot!) A favorite memory I have is when Dakota was on vacation with us. We stayed in one night and played a game. I can’t remember the name of the game, but I’ll never forget how hard we all laughed. It started because of something my husband Bob said. We laughed for so long! We would try to stop laughing, and that just made us laugh harder. We couldn’t catch our breath, we couldn’t speak, our stomachs hurt, and we all ended up in tears. We had to abandon the game just so we could stop laughing! Everything seemed funnier when Dakota was around. Dakota and his family introduced us to the American Eskimo breed of dog. We gave one to Patrick as a Christmas gift. He named her Blizzard, after a game company. A few months later we brought home another Eskie. He was named Casper. About a year later, Blizzard and Casper made us proud puppy parents. One of those adorable balls of fluff found a happy, loving home with Dakota and his family. They named her Demi. Dakota was so smart, so goofy, and so sweet. We loved him, and we are grateful he was part of our lives. We will miss him. The world was a better place with him in it. Sherrie and Jamie, we are so, so sorry for your loss. Our hearts ache for you and your family. Please know that we are here for you if you need us for anything at all. Susan Bruchey

Susan Bruchey
Hagerstown, MD

Sherrie and Jamie My thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Dacota.Reading the many messages I could feel he was very special.Be strong my brother firefighter Jamie.

Terry Gearhart
Hagerstown, Maryland

Shawn and Family, We are deeply saddened for your loss. Prayers go out to you and your family at this most difficult time.

Rita and Rommel
Aberdeen, Maryland

Dear Sherrie and family, Prayers reaching out to you and your family. I remember you sharing proud parent stories about Dakota's hockey and baseball skills when I would come into the salon. May your fond memories fill your empty heart.

Nancy Schukraft
Hagerstown, MD

It's sad to see someone like Dakota go. He was a good guy that always tried to make people laugh. I remember riding kit cars up and down potomac back in Elementary school. We are all better off to have you in our lives man. All my love and support to your family in this time. You will be missed.

Michael Leonard
Hagerstown, MD

I am saddened to hear this news. I may have only know him from online but he was a great person who always had everyone laughing. He will be remembered and truly missed. My condolences to your family in this time.

Warzippo aka Mike
Eureka, Montana

We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Eric and Jessica Claudy
Hagerstown, Maryland

It's rare to have known anyone in real life when playing online. Bud was someone who's legend won't die with his online family. From the laughing to tears, to the hours spent bonding, the guild lost a part of it's heart. I started playing WoW over 15 years ago. Bud made a place in our hearts where literal millions could have been. He was our ACE in the hole and our reason to be the best. We are the best because of him. Classic WoW was a nostalgic throw back. But looking at it, It was a blessing to reignite friendships we may had taken for granted. I am 33 now, to see someone who had such a ferocity for life snuffed out breaks my heart. The guild moves on with your light to challenge the darkness of not only the game ahead, but the challenges of our own personal lives. Thank you for giving us a beacon to light our path. -- Kleavage, A.k.A. Lance.

Phillip L Holland Holland

Thanks for being a good friend and making me laugh every single day I got to play classic with you. Rest in peace bud

John (enh)
St. Louis, Missouri

I remember working with Dakota all the way back at Fox's Pizza, my first ever job, and the Blackwood's business at the time. Dakota was such a fun guy to be around, and though I never knew him on a personal level, he never ceased to fill my time at Fox's with jokes and laughter. It was easy to tell just how he loved his family and friends with his carefree spirit. He easily captivated those around him with his witty humor, and wouldn't hesitate to lend a hand when needed. My sincere condolences to the Blackwoods and all who knew him.

Michael DiMercurio
Hagerstown, Maryland

Sending prayers to your family and friends. Miss you.

Miranda Barkdoll
Hagerstown, MD

My condolences to the family, Dakota was always a friendly and caring coworker. Would greet me every shift and made sure if we needed help, that he was there to assist us. Such a happy guy through every shift and loved his job.

Kiana Fossett
Hagerstown, MD

We only met a few times and it was usually around a hockey camp but I remember Dakota as a very smart, well informed young man who loved his family very much

Jack OHalloran
Vancouver , Canada

Our family is keeping your family in our hearts and prayers. Wishing you peace and comfort during this time. Our sincere condolences. The Benda family

Michelle Benda
Williamsport , MD

Bud... I'm literally heartbroken. You are legendary in our family and always will be. Everyone has nothing but hilariously fond memories of you. You were always so positive and caring. You wanted everyone to be happy. I cannot tell you how many smiles you put across our faces every raid night. We all missed you greatly when you stepped away from gaming and to hear we have lost the chance to come across your path again is devastating. I know you are resting easy now and look forward to playing D2 with you when that time comes. Rest in peace bro.

Roseville, CA

I am so very sorry and saddened to hear of Dakota's passing. My heartfelt prayers, thoughts and condolences to all of you. May God bless you and give you comfort and strength through this incredibly difficult time. Shaneeka

Shaneeka Owens
Hagerstown, MD

Dakota my man I always knew you were that guy to be funny and have alot of fun. We had a blast just being friends and growing up from northern middle to north high. Even the last time I seen you came go my house to deliver pizza. I was really excited to see you man. This saddens me to see that you are gone. But I do know you are in a better place man traveling in the next realm watching over us. I love you brother rest easy. Your boy robbie gates

Robbie gates
Hagerstown, Maryland

Dear Family of Dakota, especially Harris Blackwood.... I am speechless. I just heard the terrible news and was broken-hearted to learn that another one of my students had left us at such a young age. I remember Dakota in 7th grade, bringing laughter to our classroom. He was kind and caring. He had a great personality! Harris, I can't imagine what you are going through, losing your brother. I am so sorry for this tragedy in your life. As a mom, the loss is especially painful... We bring these young men and women into this world. We hold them in our arms. We watch them grow. All we want is their happiness and safety. I feel much sympathy for all of you during this time. Prayers to each one of you, prayers for comfort.... Fondly, Ms. Swain (Mrs. Conrad) Northern Middle School

Ms. Swain
Hagerstown, Maryland

I'm so sorry for your loss. I transferred into Potomac Heights in 5th grade and Dakota quickly welcomed me as a new friend. I will always remember him as the kind, funny individual he was. Thinking of you all during this tremendously difficult time.

Stephen Johnson
Frederick, Maryland

I am sorry for the loss of a fine young man. I just met him about a year ago and liked him from day one, very intelligent about a variety of subjects which is unusual today, was open to anyone, was not prejudice to any thought. RIP you will be missed.

Hagerstown , MD

God bless the entire family during this time. You are in our thoughts and prayers all the time these last few days. I hope you can feel the love and support from us hockey parents in Rockville. We are here. May the lord comfort you and take care of you all.

Michelle and Michael Corbin
Rockville , MD

We are so sorry for the loss of your son and brother. Our hearts go out to Dakota and your wonderful family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Fred, Carolyn, Samantha and Hunter Partsch
Johnstown , PA

RIP Dakota. Will never forget wearing Federal red with you. Playing punch buggie in the car with Jamie, Joe, and even little Harris on the way to all star games. You always had the best outlook on everything and will always be remembered as the kind, bright person you were.

Justin Mills
Wilmington, North Carolina

I am so sorry for all of you guys loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you all. I cannot imagine what you are going through but I pray that God will give you the strength to get through this. Love Always, Nisey

Denise Higgins
Big Pool, Maryland

Sending our deepest sympathy at this very challenging time. Our family is celebrating all the joy and laughter that Dakota brought to our family. We have sooooo many fond memories of Dakota and will cherish them dearly. Love, hugs, and prayers to the family.

Kathy and Ed Forrest
Hagerstown , MD

May you Rest In Peace, Dakota. My heartfelt condolences to you, Sherry, Jamie, Cali, and Harris.

Katherine Walton-Vecchio
Amherst, MA

I am so very sorry for the loss of your son and brother. I remember Dakota well from his days at Potomac Heights. He was a very kind young man and good student. I saw him last at Fox's Pizza. He recognized me right away and engaged me in conversation. I was very happy to see him and know that he was doing well. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Debbie Catherman
Hagerstown , MD

I am at a loss for what to say. I loved Dakota. He was like another one of my sons. Our vacations together and sleep overs at our house will be unforgettable and mean even more to me now. Our family lost a member. Sherrie and Jamie, I am so, so sorry for your loss and I will always cherish the memory of Dakota, remembering the fun times we had. My prayers are with you guys and I'm sure God swept him up into his loving arms.

Bob Bruchey
Hagerstown, Maryland

Sherrie l was so sorry to hear about Dakota. Especially as he’s not much older than my Dakota. Wish I could give you a hug. I’m praying for your family.

Wanda Vaughn
Hagerstown , MD

Robert told me of this sad news last night. He asked me to go through my photos and find pictures....which I am doing. I didn’t have to search long....they were a great group of kids that had a beautiful time together ❤️ Love you Sherri and am here for you

Mona Hardinge
Hagerstown , MD

My love goes out to all of you Blackwoods and Durnings. Dakota was a good friend of mine, who's sense of humor will always be a hallmarked memory of his being. Stay strong fam, and know that you have many loved one's here to support you. Love Always, Trey King

Trey King
Hagerstown , MD

The Rocks send prayers for strength & healing. Our deepest sincere heartfelt condolences to all your family & friends.

Scott Rock
Troy, New York

Dear Sherrie and family, We were so sorry and saddened to hear about Dakota's passing. Many prayers are being sent up. Todd and Marilyn Ullery

Marillyn Ullery
Hagerstown, MD

My deepest sympathy and heart-felt condolences to Dakota's parents, siblings and grandparents.

Tracy Toston
Hagerstown, MD

My sincere condolences to the family at this very difficult time.

Brenda Fraker Shirk
Hagerstown , MD

Dear Sherrie, Jamie, and family, This was such a shock to hear about Dakota. We are so sorry to hear this terrible news. We send our deepest condolences to you during this time and the days ahead. Lifting you up with prayer. God Bless you all. Love, Julie, Bernard, and Ava

Julie Zeger
East Brunswick, NJ

Dak, I remember the day you were born.With excitement, joy, and love you entered our lives, our very first grandchild.And year by year our little golden hair grandson grew into a wonderful, kind, funny,loving, young man. I will miss making potato candy, sugar cookies, and mac & cheese for you at Christmas. I will miss our political discussions, your beautiful eyes, your warm smile & big hugs. I will be thinking of you everyday and will keep you forever in my heart. Love you, Grandma Carol

Carol Miller
Mercersburg, Pa.

So sorry to hear about you loss!!! Our prayers are with you and the family!!!

Raymond Lecuyer
Rockville, MD

This is such sad news to hear. I have very fond memories of time spent with Dakota and I know my whole family does too! We still talk about all the times he made us laugh during beach trips, or while beating us in backyard basketball or an overly competitive game of Mario party. My thoughts are with your family during this hard time. He will be missed.

Ali Forrest
Frederick, Maryland

Always could count on Dakota for a good laugh. There was never a dull moment with him. So sorry for your loss and thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time of grief. Best wishes.

Zach Schreiber
Hagerstown , Maryland

Sherri and family, I’am so sorry for the loss of your son, brother, grandson, uncle and friend. I did know him personally, from reading the obituary it sounds like God has taken another angel. My heart goes out to all of you. Sending hugs to you Bev and Mike.

Robin Miller
Clear Spring , Maryland

Sherrie and family, my deepest sympathy to all of you during this difficult time. Keeping you all in my prayers. God Bless.

Nikki (Fouke) Eichelberger
Fairplay, MD

Shawn and Sherrie, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your son . I prayed to God last night that he give you strength and comfort through this though time. My condolences to your family and you. RIP Dakota.

Tony Durning
Clear Spring, MD

Sherrie, Jamie & Harris, I am so sorry to hear about Dakota. I am at a loss for words. Hope you all find peace. Sending prayers & hugs, Nancy

Nancy Dann
Frederick, MD

I worked with Dakota at Lowes, and even though I had only known him a short time, I know he was a hard working guy with a great heart and zest for life. He will be missed by all his friends at Lowes. Prayers to his family and friends.

Julie Grimm
Hagerstown, MD

I’m truly sorry to hear about this. My brother, Alex, got to know Dakota during our tome together during lacrosse. I can easily say Dakota was such a great person and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. To this day, I still reference jokes he said and played on us during lacrosse to my friends. He was a such a joy to be around, as I’m sure you all know. Again, I am so sorry for you and your family and send my condolences to each and every one of you. God bless. Nick Rauch

Nick Rauch
Falling Waters, WV

Words can't convey the surprise at such a loss nor convey how sorry I am for his loved ones in the past and coming days. I only knew Dakota for a short time while he worked at Lowe's but he was quite a memorable and enjoyable guy. I had hoped to get to know him much better as time went by. He will be missed.

Reuben Moss
Boonsboro, MD

Sherrie, Jamie & family, I am so sorry for your loss and can’t imagine what you’re going through right now. Even though I didn’t know Dakota that well, when I was around him he seemed to make everyone laugh and was truly the life of the party. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts in prayers during this tough time. Please let Emily know if there is anything I can do to help out.

Jamie Gross
Hagerstown , MD

Sherrie, Jamie, Cali, Harris my heart goes out to you during this difficult time. May you be consoled that Dakota is now at peace.

Jane Blackwood
Beloit, WI

Sherrie and Jamie, We are so sorry to hear of Dakota’s passing. May the Lord comfort you during this time, we will be praying for his/your family and friends. He was a very polite, happy child, whenever I subbed his class at Potomac Heights. And in later years, he always said hello and always had a big smile on his face, he certainly will be missed!

Kathy Collier
Hagerstown, Md

I was dakotas manager at lowes he was an outstanding worker and even though i only new him for a short time we became good friends. He and i were working towards getting him ready for a managers position in the near future. Every job he did he did with pride. RIP my friend your smile and friendship will be missed sincerely Harry Burdette

Harry Burdette
Hagerstown, Md

I will always remember Dakota for having the ability to put a smile on everyone’s face. He was a good man and will truly be missed. My prayers are with your family during this difficult time.

Preston Button
Baltimore , Maryland

So sorry for your loss. He will be missed. May god give you guidance through this time of sorrow.

Cheryl Emmart
Greencastle, Pa

I am so sad to hear the news about Dakota, we worked together at GameStop and he was such a nice guy, it was always great knowing I had a shift with him. When my father passed away I was actually at work when I got the news. Dakota and a coworker from another store made sure I was okay and covered the end of my shift. I was grateful for it then and I’m still thankful that he was so caring. He will be missed.

Sarah Verdugo
Greencastle , PA

Rest in peace

Hagerstown, Maryland

Dakota was around 9 or 10 the first time I ever met him, working with Sherrie and later Jamie at the salon we all worked in. Have heard so many good stories and things over the years. You will be missed by many. Take care of yourself until we all meet again. Love and positive thoughts to all of the family. Xoxo

Shelly Bayko
Greencastle , PA

Sherry, Mike,and Bev my sincere sympathy to you and all of your family in the loss of Dakota. My prayers for each one of you. God be with you in your time of need. I'm so very sorry.

Teresa Magaha

I went so school with Dakota from kindergarten all the way to senior year. He was always friendly, kind and had a great sense of humor. Its unbelievable to hear he passed away. My thoughts are with his family.

Ella Wood (McPherson)
Hagerstown, Maryland

So sorry for your loss, Dakota always used to make me laugh in high school. He will be missed. Sending your family our thoughts. Danny & Shawnie

Daniel Fraker
Hagerstown , Md

I’ll always cherish the memories of growing up with Dakota and Joe. A simpler time. He always knew how to make everyone laugh. He’ll be missed. Prayers to the family during this time.

Matt South
Frederick, MD

Played lacrosse together at north years ago. Definitely had some good times. RIP my friend

Nick Kendle
Hagerstown, MD

I am so sorry to hear of Dakotas passing. He was a character and was part of my family here at Dominos. He will be missed by all of us.

Hagerstown , MD

Our Prayers go out to Sherri and Jammie and the rest of the family. I got to know Dakota and family through youth hockey. He could always put a smile on our face. Rest in peace Dakota!

Chip & Terri Bower
Williamsport , MD

Our condolences to your family on the passing of your dear son.

Mary Beth Martin
Hagerstown, MD

Our hearts goes out to you all in your time of sorrow. Our prayers are with you and your family. Accept our warm and heartfelt sympathy. The McKay's Joel, Jill, Philip, & Troy

Jill & Joel McKay
Clayton, NC

Sherrie and family - I am so sorry for your loss. There are no suitable words to express my thoughts. I can only pray for God's continued strength and peace for you all and the comfort in knowing you will all be together again one day.

Karl Kart
Hagerstown , Maryland

Dear Sherrie, Jamie, Cali, Harris and Joseph, I am so so sorry about your loss. I cannot stop thinking about you all and hoping the days pass quickly for you all. I didn't really get to know Dakota well, but I remember chatting about him back in the day. Please take care and know that you all are in my thoughts Much love- Betsy and family

betsy rosenthal
Smithsburg, MD

So sorry to hear of the loss of your son. You all will be in our thoughts and prayers. God Bless

Cathy Boswell
Chambersburg , Pa

No words can describe how sorry I am for your loss. I pray that God will grant you strength. My most sincere condolences, Cindy

Smithsburg, MD

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