MATTOON -- Rev. Eugene Franklin Black, 88, of Mattoon, died 5:45 a.m. March 12, 2014, at the Odd-Fellow Rebekah Home.
The funeral service celebrating his life will be Saturday, March 15 at 10 a.m. and the Mitchell-Jerdan Funeral Home in Mattoon, with the Rev. Kenneth Cox and Rev. Ron Dickinson officiating. Burial will be in Peaceful Valley Cemetery in Odin. Visitation at the funeral home will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 14 and Saturday from 9 a.m. until service time.
Born March 19, 1925, in Marion County, Ill., Eugene was the son of Eugene C. and Nellie L. (Eagan) Black. He married Helen Catherine Plowman Sept. 9, 1945, in Vernon. Survivors include his wife, Helen, of Mattoon; two sons, Phillip Eugene Black of Mattoon, IL, and Paul Emmerson (Carolyn) Black of Springfield; two brothers, Lyle (Dorothy) Black of Salem, and Dean (Elloise) Black of Vandalia; a sister, Marie E. Towler of Patoka; two sisters-in-law, Benita Black of Metropolis, and Marilyn Black of Carbondale; two grandchildren, Jesse (Michelle) Black of Chatham, and Andrew Black (fiancee Rebecca McCloud) of Pontiac; and two great-grandchildren, Brodie Grenko and Carson Grenko, both of Chatham.
Rev. Black was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Jesse Black, the Rev. Earl Black and Frank Black.
Rev. Black served in the United States Army during World War II after receiving a call to the ministry at age 9. He served as a chaplain aide and processed prisoners of war following the war until his discharge in 1946.
He enrolled in McKendree College where he graduated in 1950. He attended Asbury Theological Seminary before transferring to Candler School of Theology, where he earned his Master's of Divinity degree in 1953.
Rev. Black served as a minister primarily in the former Southern Illinois Conference (now Illinois Great Rivers Conference) of The United Methodist Church for 49 years, retiring in 1995. He served the following churches in active ministry: Freeburg-New Athens, 1946-50; associate pastor of Epworth Methodist Church, Lexington, Ky., 1950-51; Mt. Edwin Methodist Church, Versailles, Ky., 1951-52; Putnam County Circuit (a five-church charge), near Eatonton, Ga., 1952-53; Brookport-Powers-Zion Methodist churches, 1953-57; Marion Aldersgate, 1957-66; Centralia Faith-Posey, 1966-69; St. Elmo First, 1969-78; Oblong Central-Seed Chapel, 1978-82; Eldorado-Beulah Heights, 1982-89; Herrin First, 1989-95.
Following retirement, he served another 14 yeras as Minister of Visitation at Mattoon First UMC from 1996 to 2010. He served as trustee of the Beulah Holiness Camp for more than 50 years. In his free time, Eugene enjoyed gardening and spending time with family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials in his honor may be made to the Beulah Holiness Camp, in care of David Cole, 1710 Oakshire Road, Marion, IL, 62959.