William McEwan Black
September 14, 1923 - January 27, 2017
Bill lived life to the fullest and he made it fun for those of us who were lucky enough to share parts of his journey. From the beginning, Bill was an outdoor enthusiast with a marvelous sense of adventure and innate integrity.
Born to Leo Black and Dorothy McEwan Black, Bill spent his childhood based in Seattle and on Bainbridge Island. He graduated from Yale University after serving as captain of a minesweeper in Japan during WWII. In 1948, Bill married Mary Fite who was his loving companion on his many adventures. Bill's mantra was "Lets go!" They built a cabin on Whidbey, sailed, camped, climbed mountains, fished and skied with their four children and friends. They were inseparable.
In his middle years, Bill was president of Seattle Cedar Lumber Company in Ballard. He helped start the Crystal Mountain Ski resort and served as its first president. He also served on the board of Ballard Hospital and was a strong supporter of environmental causes. After racing sailboats to Hawaii three times, Bill proposed trying something more ambitious. Mary said "Why not?" and so they sailed around the world on their forty foot sloop Foreign Affair from 1975 to 1981 -- the defining adventure of a lifetime. Then, from 1990 to 1992, they circumnavigated the North Pacific.
Bill eventually succumbed to his cancer but remained engaged and active right up to the end. He was still hiking on the beach and watching the PBS News Hour just days before his death. Bill died comfortably at his beloved Whidbey cabin at the age of 93. He is survived by his wife, Mary, their four children: Ann Lyle (Greg), Lydia Cooper (Craig), Hunter Black (Audie), and Will Black (Shelley), eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial for family and close friends will be held on February 26 at 2:00 pm at the Seattle Tennis Club.
Published by The Seattle Times from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2017.