Rev. Bernard Black Dies At Age 94

By Informant Staff

Dr. Rev. Bernard Black, 94, of Phoenix, died Nov. 23, in his home. He was the pastor of South Phoenix Baptist Church since 1965. Church historians recall: “In the midst of hard times, one Saturday night, seven church members met in prayer and voted to call a young, inexperienced Minister from the Union Institutional Baptist Church, Rev. Bernard Black, to accept the challenge of becoming Pastor of South Phoenix Missionary Baptist Church.”

Under his leadership South Phoenix Baptist grew to become a main stay in the community providing spiritual and material support for members and non-members alike.

Deacon Board Chair Charles Fanniel related, “While visiting members in the hospital Pastor Black would often stop and pray for people he didn’t even know as well as members of other churches.” Rev. Black held national Baptist, and statewide and local Association offices throughout his career in the ministry. Working as a principal in the Williams and Jones Construction Company, Rev. Black helped provide high quality houses in the Sheraton Park, Park South, and other neighborhoods in south Phoenix, thus providing a higher standard of living for African Americans.

Rev. Black, also a 33rd degree Mason and a Shriner, helped organize Prince Hall South Phoenix Lodge #25, which later merged with Lodge #1. Black served on the Roo- sevelt School Board for 22 years. The district honored him with the naming of a K-8 elementary school.

Dr. Black also was a devoted family man. His first wife, Stella, proceeded him in death. The present Mrs. Lillian Black became a consummate ‘helpmate’ until the end.

Rev. Black’s legacy as a pastor, businessman, education board member, Mason and family man will not soon be matched. His compassion and concern for his fellowman are some of the unique characteristics he shared with all of us.

Services information forthcoming.

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