|Birth: ||Mar. 1, 1951|
|Death: ||May 5, 1967|
Rebecca Ann Black, 16, died on Friday evening, May 5, 1967. Born on Thursday, March 1, 1951, Becky battled cystic fibrosis for 15 years. A resident of Trimble County all her life with the exception of 5 years she spent in Yuma, Arizona. She is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas Black and one sister, Allie.
(Reprinted from the Trimble Democrat 5/8/67 with permission)
"Until the Master of all good workmen shall set us to work anew" and so the words of the poet of yore attended with meaing now to Rebecca Ann Black, age 16, whose suffering for so many years with cystic fibrosis was terminated in death Friday night at 11:30 at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. With patience that endured from 15 years of suffering and faith enough to pray and understand that a cure was not possible, "Becky" as she was affectionately known, is now, with the "Master of all good workmen who will set her to work anew."
Becky's battle with cystic fibrosis was widely known and her courage in battle was marveled at. Nurses ministering to her in her waning days and hours were fascinated by her courage and they loved her. One nurse called with condolences and tribute from Columbus, Ohio as the remains were in the funeral home. She had attended the little girl with much more than the usual love and affection that goes with professional service.
Despite 15 years of suffering, she had attained well in school having reached the sophomore level in high school. While in Arizona, where the dry air was to have helped her, her school work was often interrupted to take intensive care at a cystic fibrosis clinic in Los Angeles, California. She loved horse-back riding and outdoor sports and tried, courageously to do those things despite the fact she swallowed 25 pills and capsules daily and sometimes more, plus setting for 20 minutes twice daily, breathing an anti-biotic mist through a nebulizer mask, which was pumped by a small air compressor.
Already, in memory of a very brave little girl, the guidance of Rev. Richard DeBell, Bedford Baptist Church minister, is motivating a "Becky Black Memorial Fund" with all proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, so that other afflicted may be helped as Becky would have wanted them to be.
Becky was born in Madison, Indiana, at Kings Daughter's Hospital, and had been a resident of Bedford, Ky. all of her life with the exception of five years spent in Yuma, Arizona before coming back to Bedford. She was a member of the Bedford Baptist Church.
Survivors include her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Douglas Black and a sister, Allie, all of Bedford, Ky.
Rites at the Bedford Baptist Church on Monday afternoon were conducted by Rev. Richard DeBell, assisted by Rev. Terry Bray. Arrangements were with Ransdell Funeral Home with burial at Bedford IOOF cemetery.
(An Open Letter To Becky)
It might seem a bit strange to be writing to someone 40 years after she has passed on, but for years I have had this urge to say some things I didn't when we were in high school together, which is why I set up this memorial for you. And, probably, no one will ever see this anyway so here I am writing you. It's hard to know where to start. As I said in the virtual flower I placed on here, I had a crush on you. A big crush at that. I enjoyed you tickling the back of my head with a pencil and talking with you. You were my first crush and I was smitten badly. I never told anyone about how I felt about you and for years after you died I continued to keep quiet. There were times, back in school, when I would get the phone book out to look up your dad's number. I wanted to call, but I wondered what you would have thought about me calling you up out of the blue. It was easy to talk with you, face to face, at school, that was no problem for me, but that phone put a real fear in me. I was so shy which prevented me from telling you how I felt and without a driver's license there wasn't much I could have done anyway without my dad hauling me everywhere. I wanted, so very much, to be with you back then.
I had planned on taking you to the Madison Regatta and go swimming (wading) at Crystal Beach swimming pool (I mostly waded around) in Madison in 1967 and for you to come over to my house, but you died before I could build up the nerve to say anything. I remember when you passed, I was heartbroken, devastated. For weeks afterward I was mopey, but I felt there was nobody I could talk to about how I felt. I still can't. I was so crushed, that I couldn't bring myself to ask to be taken to the funeral home or to your funeral. I have felt guilty about that for the last 40 years, so I kept it all bottled up inside. There have been a lot of times, in the intervening years, that I think of you and wondered how things might have been if I hadn't been so shy and you had lived longer. I really felt I loved you, or as much as any fifteen year old kid could love a girl at the time. Either way, I was crazy about you! Adolescence can be so strange and rough on a young person. I see it every single day in my job.
The emotional pain was so intense for me that it took a long time for me to visit your grave, but now that I do, I bring a fresh red rose for you every week. I like doing that. I even placed a small ceramic angel on your grave to watch over you. I know it's a pittance for not saying the things to you I wish I had, but it's the only way I can make up for it.
Today, life is good. I have a wonderful wife, three children and three grandchildren. I teach at a high school in Indiana, but still live in Kentucky in Trimble County. And I raced hydroplanes for a while.
But after 40 years there has been hardly a day that goes by that I don't think of the pretty girl who sat behind me in class, tickling the back of my head with a pencil, while giggling, sending my heart fluttering. I'll treasure that forever and will always wonder what might have been had things been a little different.
With genuine, sincere love and affection,
James Douglas Black (1924 - 2008)
In Loving Memory Of Our Daughter
Plot: Section D, Row 14, Space 12
Created by: Denny Jackson
Record added: Sep 24, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21739105