Alan Russell Black

Alan Russell “Blackie” Black died suddenly acute myocardial infarction on March 30, 200I. At the time of his death, he was living in New Orleans where he had settled about twenty-five years ago. He was employed in the catering business and was variously associated with several restaurants in that city.

Blackie arrived at Amherst in the fall of 1953. His college experience was interrupted during his freshman year, but he returned the following fall, graduating with the class of 1958 and achieving his bachelor’s degree. Nonetheless, Blackie continued to identify with the Class 1957 and throughout his life made efforts to maintain the friendships forged during his brief tenure with our Class.

Blackie was born in Hollywood, California, and matriculated to Amherst via Rutgers Preparatory School in Rutgers New Jersey. He was the only son of theatrical parents. His father, Maurice H. Black, starred in motion pictures during the 1930s with such Hollywood luminaries as Edward G. Robinson, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Paul Muni. Blackie honed his skills as a thespian while at Amherst and there is a record of further efforts in the field, having tried a career in the New York theatre shortly after graduating. He also worked as a ski instructor and held various positions in the resort and catering profession prior to moving to New Orleans. He remained a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan and indulged his passion for the ball club by making frequent trips to Chicago to witness the generally “hapless” team.

Blackie never married and his life was marred by bouts of depression and a lingering struggle with alcohol. At the time of his death he had been in marginal health and was suffering from pulmonary emphysema. Those of us who knew him remember a gregarious, albeit studious, friend who became a popular member of Kappa Theta during undergraduate years. He made many efforts to maintain ties with our class through frequent phone calls and he attended our Class Reunion in 1997. At that time he had been living in New Orleans for twenty-one years after a protracted European trip and reported that he had settled down to enjoy “the good life.” He is survived by a cousin on his father’s side. Needless to say, we remember him fondly. He will be missed.

-Edward C. Gilbert, MD '57