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Published: Tuesday, 11/7/2000

Former Mercy Memorial Hospital chief of staff delivered 10,000 babies

MONROE - Dr. Charles Black, a longtime Monroe obstetrician-gynecologist and former president of the Monroe County board of education, died of emphysema Saturday in Mercy Memorial Nursing Center. He was 78.

Dr. Black's children described their father as a person who enjoyed the responsibility of helping bring thousands of children into the world. Timothy Black, one of Dr. Black's sons, said his father lived in Toledo from 1959 to 1964, but most of his clientele was in Michigan, so he moved to Monroe, where he spent the rest of his life.

“We estimated that he delivered about 10,000 babies,” Mr. Black said. “He was a very generous man and a man of great integrity. He was a very caring individual.”

Beverly Curran, one of Dr. Black's daughters, said her father stressed honesty and it was known among the children the way to get into the most trouble at home was by not telling the truth.

“It was always better to tell the truth because your punishment was going to be so much worse if he found out that you lied,” Mrs. Curran said. “He would set an example for us to follow. He expected us to do our best in whatever we did.”

Jennifer Black, another daughter, said despite Dr. Black's busy schedule, he always made time for the children, attending various school functions.

“I remember when I was playing softball, he or my mom would be at every game,” Ms. Black said. “My brother was also playing, and [Dr. Black] would be at one game and my mom at the other. It never mattered what else was going on, he made sure he was there for us.”

Mr. Black said his father served about 10 years on the Monroe County Board of Education, including a term as president. He said Dr. Black had a long association with Mercy Memorial Hospital, where he once was chief of staff.

“He was dedicated to his patients and the profession,” Mr. Black said. “He had a tremendous sense of obligation to do the job right. Medicine is not a job you go to, but a lifestyle, and you had to be dedicated to it.”

Mr. Black said Dr. Black served in World War II as a chief warrant officer in the Army and was stationed in Italy and northern Africa.

“He had fond memories of those times,” Mr. Black said. “His stories weren't war stories, but slice-of-life stories about the people he met and their families.”

An Indiana native, he attended medical school at the University of Indiana. Mr. Black said Dr. Black loved traveling, but going home to Indiana was always a favorite stop.

The children said they believe Monroe citizens appreciated their father's community service.

“I was stopped a couple of times since I've been here where people would just want to tell me what a great man he was,” Mrs. Curran said. “That made me feel good that so many people appreciated him in that way.”

Dr. Black is survived by his sons, Theo, Timothy, and Daniel; daughters, Beverly Curran, Patricia Cunningham, and Jennifer Black, and brothers, Thomas, Eugene, and John.

Visitation will be at Earle Little Funeral Home, Bacarella Chapel, 115 East Elm Ave. in Monroe, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 201 South Monroe St., followed by a graveside military service by Monroe VFW Post 1138 in Roselawn Memorial Park, LaSalle.



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