Robert “Russell” Black – Captain, United States Army


On May 9, 2001 at the Providence Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, Robert “Russell” Black, formerly of Arlington, Virginia. Russell was born August 6, 1917, in Norman, Oklahoma, the son of the late Calvin and Katrine Ables Black.

On March 25, 1991, in Falls Church, Virginia, he married Lillian H. ”Rusty” Brown, formerly of Leavenworth, Kansas, who had served as President Eisenhower's private secretary at his Gettysburg, Pennsylvania office.

He attended grade school and junior high in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He graduated from Central High School in Oklahoma City, where in 1935 he was honored as the National Oratorical Champion of the United States and was a special speaker at Commencement.

He then attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where he graduated as Phi Beta Kappa, Cum Laude. He was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Fraternity; honor Freshman Fraternity of scholars, the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity and was a member of Delta Chi social fraternity.

 While in college, he became an announcer and newscaster for several Oklahoma City radio stations and was on the air to announce the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

 In World War II, he was a liaison pilot and ”spotter” pilot for the 51st Artillery in New Guinea from 1942-45. He was wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Medal.

 After the war, he received his Masters Degree from Columbia University in New York City, and his Doctor of Law Degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

 For almost 30 years he served with the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Information Agency, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. He was stationed in Munich, Germany, Baghdad, Iraq, and Cairo, Egypt. He was part of the team that set up radio networks in the emerging nations in sub-Sahara Africa.

While stationed in Washington, he was special events officer at the VOA and reporter for the Voice on the Senate and House of Representatives. The special events programs included such things as the Kennedy and Eisenhower funerals. He produced and announced a number of special series including ones on American Folk Heroes and American Music.

Russell had attended the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, been a member of the American Bar Association and Life Member of both the DAV and American Legion.

Mr. Black was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Dale and Byron, and his beloved niece, Anna Dale Black Reaves.

Mr. Black is survived by his wife; his nephews, C.A. Reaves and David and Bonnie Brown; nieces, Barrie Knox and Little Barrie Young, Molly and Michael Sharp, and C.B. Knox, II, Michele and
David Dossett and their children, Tamara Stone and children, Sara Brown and children, and Becky and Bob Findell.

He is missed by many friends from around the world, and in particular, Bonnie, Richard and Craig LaBouff and Brooke Parker.

A memorial service was held at the Fort Leavenworth Memorial Chapel, Friday, May 11. Burial with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, Monday, May 21 at 9 a.m.

The family requests no flowers and suggests memorials be made to the University of Oklahoma Baptist Student Union, c/o the Belden-Sexton-Sumpter Funeral Chapel, 500 Oak St., Leavenworth, KS 66048, (913) 682-1614.

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