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Willie Black, Jr.
WILLIE BLACK, JR.
(1940 - 2016) only had three children but he was a father figure to so many more, said his son, Willie F. Black III. He didnt treat you as just an athlete. He got to know every single person that he came into contact with. He really cared about everyone.
Mr. Black had been involved in track and field on the Island since the late 1970s, when he first volunteered as an assistant coach for the foundling Staten Island Jets, a local club team with an enrollment of 50 runners from the age of 9 to adults.
He later was well known as the head cross-country and track and field coach at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School in Huguenot, where he coached from 1978 until 1987.
Additionally, Mr. Black spent much of his time at Island track meets and in Manhattans Armory, having been a track official for the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) and a United States of America Track and Field (USATF) official since the early 1980s. He also was an official for the Empire State Games for more than 10 years. Mr. Black also served on the Cross Country and Track and Field Advisory Board of the Staten Island Advance All Stars for more than 20 years.
The passing of Pappa Black is a great loss to me, the track and field community, Staten Island and all who knew and loved him, said Derek Alvez, an Advance sports reporter and a friend for more than 40 years, who shared duties with him on the USATF officials team and the Empire State Games multi-events team. He was an adviser to me. He was a God-fearing man - a man of honor and integrity.
Said George Kochman, also an Advance staffer, about Blacks influence and knowledge around the track: It's a terrible loss to the Island track and field community. He was just everywhere. He was a fixture at the Armory. Always officiating. He was just a very nice guy.
Mr. Black was born in Albany, Ga., and was reared in Tampa and Miami, Fla. A captain who served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves for 35 years, he also lived in Fort Dix, N.J., Brooklyn, Columbus, Ga., Orleans, France, and Germany before settling in Clifton in 1973.
He served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War, and was awarded the Bronze Star.
Mr. Black was the chief administrator at Military Ocean Terminal Army Garrison, Bayonne, N.J., during the 1980s and the 1990s. Prior to that, he held several management positions in the youth and recreation departments of Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, for more than 20 years.
He earned his bachelors degree in psychology from Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, where he was a member of Epsilon Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. It was there he began his military career, participating in the schools Army ROTC program. He was also a member of the track and field team, marching band and baseball and football teams.
He would play the National Anthem and then he would go out onto the field to play football, said his son, Willie III. Hed play the national anthem in his football uniform.
Mr. Black had been a parishioner of Christ Episcopal Church, New Brighton, since 1993, and his volunteer efforts were far-reaching and varied. He sang in the choir, served on the search committee for the new rector and on the finance committee. He also was a church warden, sat on the vestry, was a member of the plant and equipment committee and had directed the annual Diversity Sunday since the late 1990s.