On November 11th, Ray Black said his last “I love you” to his three children and their families. He passed away while being treated at Prairie Heart Institute in Springfield, IL. Ray was preceded in death by the love of his life of 70 years, Joan Black; his parents Jack and Nellie Black; his sisters Dorothy Ross and Ruth Dowdell; and an infant brother Lester. Ray is survived by his daughter Connie (Tom) of Springfield, IL; sons Dan Black (Dotti) of Mt. Vernon and Darrell Black (Patty) of Salida, CO; six grandchildren, Matt Byerly (Julia), Eric Byerly(Angela), Andrew Black(Becca), Brittany Collier (Joseph), Zackray Black, Rhiannon Young (Jay); 7 great grandchildren; brother, Kenneth Black and wife, Shirley of Apopka, FL; and sister, Helen Gill of South Easton, MA; and several nieces and nephews also survive.
Ray was born to Jack and Nellie Black on Dec.22, 1929. He would spend the rest of his life in Mt. Vernon often working alongside his dad. Though Joan and he loved to travel, he always said there was no place he would rather live than in Mt. Vernon. Until the end, he loved cruising around town looking for anything that might have changed...especially new construction sites!
Ray was a hard worker. He was employed at a very young age and at times juggle as many as 3 jobs in an effort to best provide for his family. After working for Lipps Construction for 37 years, he retired in 1987 and formed Ray Black and Sons Construction, Inc. He was very proud to work with his sons, Dan and Darrell, until retiring for the second time in 2006. Ray found much pleasure in his work no matter the job, but he was most proud of the role he played when adding the addition to Central Church, the church where Joan and he were members for many years. His family would tell you that it was always tough to buy Ray a gift. Though very generous to others, the only wish he ever had for himself was to spend time with his family and to own an RV. He loved his children, his grandchildren, their spouses, and his great grandchildren unconditionally. He always grew excited at the thought of seeing them or hearing their voices. With lots of help from Joan, he guided his family well. He taught them about what is most important in life: trust and have faith in the Lord; cherish family and friends; be humble; be generous; travel and enjoy God’s creation; work hard and enjoy what you do; do your best always; have a sense of humor; and forgive quickly without holding a grudge. Ray loved life to the fullest. He loved to laugh, be with family and friends and to make new friends. He was said to have never met a stranger. He was quick to tell you how blessed he had been his whole life. He totally enjoyed being out amongst people where many experienced his warm smile, his many antics, and his big, generous heart. Someone said he had a knack for being able to connect with people quickly and that was witnessed his last days in the hospital when he had a trail of nurse following him from room to room and floor to floor checking on him and wishing him well. The last nurse who spent her day by his side trying her best to pull him through his final crisis told us she wanted to take him home with her and broke down in sobs with his family when she couldn’t save him. Clearly they connected in a few hours under the most difficult of circumstances. Ray will be fondly remembered by those who knew him. He touched many people’s lives and created many special memories.
Visitation: 10:00 A.M. until 12:00 P.M. Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Hughey Funeral Home in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Funeral Service: 12:00 P.M. Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Hughey Funeral Home with Mr. Randy Sells officiating. Interment: Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Vernon, Illinois. Memorials: Prairie Heart Foundation, Central Christian Church, or to the Coram Deo School.