William P. Black, Sr. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 in the presence of his family and comfort of his home. Bill was born in 1929, in Haileyville, Oklahoma to Harvey and Amelia Black. He had two older brothers, Jim & Bob. He graduated from Classen High School, attended Oklahoma A&M, then earned a degree in speech with a minor in history from Arkansas College. While studying in the foothills of the Ozarks, he met his college sweetheart, Elma. The two married in April, 1952, and shared an amazing love for each other for 65 years. They were the proud parents to three children- Ann, Bucky, and Ginger. Bill honorably served in the United States Army during the Korean War era. An entertainer at heart, he traveled as an emcee and performer, boosting troop morale across the country. In 1955, Bill and Elma moved to Baton Rouge where he started his career as a broadcaster and television entertainer. That same year, he created the beloved children's family program, "Storyland", and shortly after, "The Buckskin Bill Show". The shows ran for 35 years, which at the time, were the longest running children's family programs in the nation. Education was the foundation of his programs. Bill worked tirelessly, utilizing the shows' popularity, to bring about improvements in the community. This included assisting in the creation of the Baton Rouge Zoo, promotion of the Louisiana School for the Deaf, and advocacy for the Boy Scouts of America, just to name a few. For his works in television, Bill was twice awarded the "Best Children's Show in the United States" by the National Association of Broadcasters. He was also awarded the coveted Action for Children's Television Award. For his selfless contributions to the Baton Rouge community, Bill was the recipient of the Golden Deeds Award. Bill was a relentless student. While enjoying his time as an instructor for the LSU Journalism Department, he enrolled in courses, always looking to further his education. He continued to show his love for children and the importance of education by serving on the EBR Parish School Board for sixteen years. Though Bill and Elma were most recently members of Broadmoor United Methodist Church, they initially raised their family at University Presbyterian Church, where Bill served on numerous boards and committees. He gave the congregation the gift of his beloved children's sermons, always poignant and humorous. Bill and Elma cherished their monthly supper club gatherings with life-long friendships created at UPC. Bill's greatest joy was being "Pawpaw" to his and Elma's six grandchildren, who gave them many new adventures. Bill loved surf fishing especially for "specks" in Cocodrie, cheering for the Saints, and all things LSU…though he was still a proud "Okie" married to an "Arkie." Although Elma was known for her beautiful flower beds, Bill took pride growing citrus trees and his vegetable garden. Bill also enjoyed playing and singing hymns on the piano and was known to belt out favorites such as "In the Garden" and "The Old Rugged Cross." Bill's one-of-a-kind personality, love for storytelling, and gift of humor will be fondly remembered by all who met him. Bill is preceded in death by his wife, Elma K. Black, parents, Harvey M. & Amelia P. Black, and siblings, James H. Black & Robert Black. He is survived by his children, Ann Posey, William Jr. "Bucky" and Maggie Black, and Ginger and Chris Musso. He is also survived by grandchildren, Kelli and Adam Jennings, Shelley Posey, Rachel and Tyler Loupe, Megan Musso, William and Stephanie Black, Raymond Black, and one great-grandchild, Tristan Lee. Bill is also survived by his very special brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews. A celebration of Bill's life will be held on Friday, January 19, 2018, at Broadmoor United Methodist Church. Visitation will begin at 10:00am, memorial service at noon, and reception to follow. A private burial will be held for immediate family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to organizations close to Bill's heart- Louisiana School for the Deaf, Raven's Outreach Center for Homeless Veterans, or Broadmoor United Methodist Church Memorial Fund.
Published by The Advocate from Jan. 15 to Jan. 19, 2018.