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Louis Black Jr.


1923 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Louis Black Jr. Obituary
Louis Black Jr. December 10, 1923 - April 21, 2018 NATIONAL CITY Louis "Louie" Black Jr, the last remaining member of his World War II B-17 crew "Hang the Expense" passed away peacefully at his Paradise Village residence in National City, CA on April 21, 2018. He was 94. Louis began his life in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico on December 10, 1923, the son of Mercedes de la Toba and Louis Black Sr. (at the time Louis Sr., a retired US Naval Officer, was stationed in La Paz as a US Navy civil servant).Louis began his military service at the ripe old age of 16 when he joined the California Guard. When the Guard was federalized in 1940 Louis found himself in Pearl Harbor and spent most of his free time researching how to get back home. He succeeded and managed to get discharged for being under-age, and was sent back to the mainland in a luxury liner on October 31, 1941. And then the war began.Louis went on to work in an aircraft factory as an aluminum welder, a very specialized skill at the time that would have exempted him from military service. However in 1943 he joined the US Army Air Corps and was a member of the 351st squadron of the famed "Bloody 100th" (flying out of Thorpe Abbotts, England). His B-17 crew, "Hang the Expense," had equal notoriety. Louis flew 26 missions as a ball turret gunner. He made the famous 8th Air Force combat missions, including a triple strike deep into Germany, continuing on to Russia/Ukraine; thence bombed Italy and North Africa; thence back to England via bombing German targets in France, and of course the famous mission against the Vemork factory's heavy-water facilities near Rjukan. Technical Sergeant Louis Black Jr. received several awards and accommodations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and three Oak Leaf Clusters.Louis' service in the USAF continued after the war as he re-enlisted as a reservist, eventually performing one more year of active duty during the Korean War, stationed at March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA. Louis used his GI Bill to attend and earned a degree from SDSU. During this time, in 1950 Louis married his first wife, Barbara Ward, with whom he had one son: Louis Black III.In 1959 Louis married his second wife Esperanza "Dina" with whom he had two children: Henry and Cynthia; and with whom he had a very long lasting marriage. It was during this time that he became active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) and was sealed to Dina for time and all eternity at the Los Angeles Temple in 1966. Louis also served in many callings in the church including branch president, stake high council and temple worker in the San Diego Temple. Being fluent in Spanish and English (speaking both without accent) Louis was frequently called upon to translate for visiting authorities and church meetings. However, his favorite assignment was that of Scoutmaster. He loved all activities related to scouting including leading several High Sierra Treks across Yosemite, creating memories and experiences in these young men that will last for generations. He was very supportive in the church and rarely missed a basketball, softball or volleyball game.Louis was an avid fan of Baja California and yearly braved what was, at the time, a five day offroad drive all the way down the peninsula to his birth home of La Paz. He loved visiting all his family and friends and is lovingly known to all as "el to Luis." He loved camping along that route with his wife and kids, and enjoyed going to the Baja 500 and 1000 off-road races with his son Henry and nephew David. During Christmas, it was not uncommon to carry a van load of toys to distribute to the children of La Paz.Louis' primary profession was a real estate appraiser and worked for the San Diego County Assessor's office for 20 years before continuing on in the private sector after retirement. In his semi-retirement years he was a school bus driver. When Louis could no longer drive, he walked or took public transportation everywhere from San Diego to Tijuana - which probably did more to prolong his life than any other activity.Louis is preceded in life by his parents, his son Louis Black III, all his siblings: Marcela Gardner, Egrizelda "Zelda" Henry, Martha Goodwin and Lambert Black. He is survived by his wife Esperanza, children Henry Black (Tiffany) and Cynthia Boon (Charley), and his grandchildren Adam and Avery Black.A viewing will be held Sunday, May 6, from 6pm to 8pm, at Greenwood Memorial, 4300 Imperial Ave, San Diego, CA 92113. The funeral services will be on Monday, May 7 from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 3737 Valley Vista Way, Bonita, CA 91902. The burial will follow soon thereafter for family members and invited guests at the Miramar National Cemetery with full military honors. December 10, 1923 - April 21, 2018
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on May 2, 2018
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