BANGOR, ME. Averill L. Black passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 3, 2021, comforted by his wife Sandy and family. Averill was born on June 27, 1928, in Amity, Maine, the only child of Velora M. (Thomas) and Alton B. Black. His mom was a school teacher, and his dad a farmer and woodsman. Ave grew up on the family farm, working closely with his dad and learning a work ethic that would define his life. He also shared many hours in the woods and waters of northern Maine with his father, acquiring a love for the outdoors that he would eventually pass on to his children and grandchildren. Velora instilled the value of education in her son, and he would follow her lead, eventually building a long career in education, as a teacher of physical education and a coach.
Averill attended Kents Hill Prep School, graduated from Ricker Classical Institute of Houlton in 1947, and from the University of Maine with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1951, and a Masters of Science in Administration in 1957. He taught and coached for over thirty years, first in Searsport, then Fort Fairfield, and ultimately in the Bangor School system, retiring in 1983. As an educator, “Coach” Black established a legacy dedicated to sports and physical fitness as a cornerstone of a productive and fulfilled life. He was a positive influence on many young lives, and took great satisfaction reconnecting with his former students and athletes later in life.
After retiring from teaching, Averill was employed for 10 years with the Bangor Daily News in their circulation and advertising departments.
Colonel Black will also be remembered for his long and distinguished service to country. His military career spanned eight decades. Enlisting in the Marines in 1948, he attended Officers Candidate School, and served with the 4th Infantry Division in Korea. He returned home and joined the Maine Army National Guard, serving as Commander of the 240th Engineer Group, and Battalion Commander of the 262nd Engineer Battalion. He attended the Command and General Staff College, and the National War College. Following his retirement from the Guard, Averill received an appointment to serve as the Maine State Director of the Selective Service, a position he held from 1990 until his retirement in 2018, at the age of 89. He received the Legion of Merit, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of Defense Commendation Medal, the Army Overseas Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Maine Honorable Service Medal.
Averill was an active member of many civic organizations, including the Bangor YMCA, the Maine Triangle Club, the Maine Youth Commission, the Governor’s Council on Military Affairs, and the Anah Temple Shrine.
An avid hunter and savvy outdoorsman, “Blackie” was a founding member and Master of the Hunt of the illustrious hunting club The Skulkers of Seboeis, enjoying many seasons of friendship and camaraderie with this special group. His best memories were his time in the Maine woods with his family, including three cherished father/son moose hunts, family camping trips to South Branch Pond, and time spent at hunting camps on Ebeeme Pond and Seboeis Lake.
Ave loved family celebrations. He was quick with a laugh, and he loved to regale his family with stories of his life. Some were true, with a life lesson woven in, and others were tall tales, but he always shared them with great energy and passion.
In his spare time, Ave was a constant “putterer”, meticulously maintaining his home on Spring Hill in Hampden, and his beloved family camp at Lucerne-in-Maine. Lucerne was his personal paradise. He would tell his grandchildren that he had travelled the world and visited many wonderful places, but the western facing shore of Lucerne was, to him, the most majestic place on earth.
Averill was pre-deceased by his son Jeffrey Black. He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Sandra (Reynolds), and by his sons Scott Black and wife Carla of Deland, FL; Paul Huston and wife Melissa of Bangor, ME; Peter Huston and wife Dawn of Hampden, ME; daughter Heather Black-Ward and husband Matt of North Andover, MA; grandchildren Erik Black, Katie (Black) Sankare, Thomas Black, Jamie (Black) Gregory, Marlee, Sam, Logan, Wil, and Ben Huston, and Austin and Julia Ward; and great-grandchildren Laila Sankare, Landon Black, Cecilia Black, Josephine Black and Luke Gregory.
Due to COVID Restrictions, there will be a celebration of life later this year, at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Averill’s memory to the Cameron Stadium renovation fund.
Donations may be sent to:
Bangor School Department, Attn: Steve Vanidestine, Athletic Director, 73 Harlow Street, Bangor, ME, 04401. Please note In Memory of Averill Black in the memo or an accompanying note.
Condolences to the family may be expressed at BrookingsSmith.com.