Harry M. Black loved military, his family

Saturday, September 15, 2012 | 7:28 p.m. CDT; updated 6:23 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 24, 2012
Harry Black died Friday, Sept. 14, 2012.

Harry M. Black believed people were put on Earth to help others, said his wife, Patsy Black.

"There are takers and there are givers," she said. "And Harry was a giver."

Mr. Black, 84, died Friday, Sept. 14, 2012. He and his wife moved to Columbia five years ago from San Diego because some of their children lived here. The couple met at a sportsman's club in San Diego where they were both hunters. They married Oct. 10, 1992.

"He was a bachelor, but I changed his mind," Patsy Black said.

Mr. Black was born Feb. 16, 1928, in Fort Loudon, Penn., to George W. Black and Lydia R. (Keefer) Black.

He is survived by his wife, Patsy Black, three children, Mary Catherine Ruffner, Kenneth Lynn and Trisha Christine Mathews, his two brothers, Harold Hastings and Paul Hastings, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

His parents and brother Charles Black died earlier.

Mr. Black and his wife attended Liberty Baptist Church.

"He was a very devout person," Patsy Black said. Once, she asked him if he was afraid of death. Mr. Black told her no because he knew where he was going, she said. 

"He was huge in the military and huge with hunting and fishing and his grandkids," daughter Trisha Mathews said.

Mr. Black was a Green Beret in the Army Special Forces and served during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Chinese Civil War. Aside from the military, he worked at United Way, a labor union in San Diego, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System and at missile sites. He also received several military distinctions: three Bronze Stars, one Silver Star and five Purple Hearts.

"He never quit loving his country," she said.

Mathews said Mr. Black liked to hunt deer and elk. He was her stepfather and had no biological children of his own, but that didn't matter in their family, she said. 

"Legally step, but he was our dad," she said.

The funeral will take place at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Liberty Baptist Church, 7461 N. Brown Station Road. Visitation starts at 10 a.m. He will be buried afterward at the Jacksonville Veteran Cemetery in Jacksonville. Donations can be made to the Liberty Baptist Church, the Hospice Compassus or the Central Missouri Honor Flight.

Supervising editor is Simina Mistreanu

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