Dr. John Kendall Black, Jr., 79, of Huntsville, passed away Wednesday. He was born on August 26, 1939, in Birmingham, Ala., the only son of John K. and Ruby W. Black. In fact, for 13 years, he was the only grandchild in the family.
Dr. Black was educated at Central Park Elementary School and Ensley High School in Birmingham. He graduated with honors from Ensley and received a National Merit Scholarship Award.
In 1956, he entered the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on a Combined Degree Program. While at the University, Dr. Black was a member of Kappa Sigma Social Fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity and the American Chemistry Society. He received the honorary President’s Medal from the Army ROTC program at the University.
After three years of pre-medical studies, Dr. Black was accepted to the Medical College of Alabama in Birmingham. He began his studies in 1959 and was awarded the Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alabama in 1960. He graduated from the Medical College in 1963. During his tenure in medical school, Dr. Black also served as a student extern at the Jefferson Hillman Hospital, Caraway Methodist Hospital, and South Highland Hospital.
He served a mixed Medical Surgical Internship at the Jefferson Hillman Hospital’s program from 1963 to 1964. Upon completing his internship, Dr. Black entered the United States Air Force on what was then known as the Berry program. He spent two years on active duty and then six years on reserve duty with the Air Force. While stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Dr. Black continued his civic duties by working as an outpatient emergency room physician at St. Margaret’s Hospital.
In 1966, Dr. Black and his family moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he spent the next four years training in an Orthopedic Surgery Residency with the Jacksonville Hospital’s Educational Programs and the College of Medicine of the University of Florida. During this time, Dr. Black served both as a junior resident as well as the Chief Resident for the Orthopedic Surgery Program. While serving as a resident, Dr. Black also found time to continue his activities as an insurance physician for several of the insurance companies in Jacksonville.
Dr. Black also authored two papers while serving as chief resident: “Leiomyosarcoma of Apparently Vascular Origin,” which was presented to and published by the Duval County Medical Society after being selected the number one research paper for the resident group. He also authored a paper on “Vertical Fractures of the Patella,” which was presented to the Southern Medical Association meeting and published in the Southern Medical Journal.
In 1970, Dr. Black and his family moved to Huntsville where he entered practice with Doctors Denton, Robinson, and Mitchell. During this time frame, Dr. Black served as an attending physician for the Alabama Crippled Children’s Clinic Services in the Huntsville region. In 1971, he was selected to be first team physician for Grissom High School where he served for several years.
As his children grew to be of high school age, Dr. Black was fortunate to be associated with Dr. Bob Sammons as a team physician for Huntsville High School. This association lasted for approximately 15 years, and involved attendance at a great number of athletic competitions both in and out of town, as well as to areas of competition in the high school playoff system.
Dr. Black was certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners in 1964, the Medical Licensure Commission of the State of Alabama in 1964, and the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in 1972.
He became a member of the Madison County Medical Society in 1970 where he served as chairman of the Madison County Health Industry Committee, a member of the Board of Trustees, Vice President, President, Member of the Board of Censors, and a member of the Madison County Board of Health.
He was also a member of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama since 1970 until his death. He has served as the Chairman of the District 3 Peer Review Committee, a member of the University of Alabama Medical School Advisory Board, and a member of the Medical Scholarship Awards Committee.
Dr. Black served as a member of the House of Delegates and College of Counselors for the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. During this time, he served on the Council of Public Affairs, a member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Political Action Committee, and became a lifetime member of the College of Counselors. It was also during this time that Dr. Black served as Vice-President of the Medical Association and became its President in 1981.
During his tenure as President, Dr. Black presided over a reorganization of the House of Delegates and College of Counselors which resulted in the development of a Vice Speaker and Speaker position within the Medical Association. He was honored by selection as the first physician to hold each of these positions with the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. It was also during this time frame that Dr. Black became associated with and mentored by a number of wonderful people in the Huntsville area. They introduced him to others and educated him in the motto “Pay Your Civic Rent”.
As a result, Dr. Black served as a member of the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama and served on the Committee that developed the Preferred Medical Doctors Program. In Huntsville, he served as a member of The Huntsville Chamber of Commerce where he also served on the Huntsville Leadership 2000 Committee Development Committee, ultimately serving as a General Chairman for the Leadership 2000 Program.
In 1990, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of the initial Downtown Redevelopment Committee, and in 1996, was selected to a term on the University of Alabama Huntsville Foundation Board.
In 2005, Dr. Black was diagnosed with prostate cancer which required surgery, radiation and other medical treatments. As a result, he directed his energies into serving on the Leadership Council of The American Cancer Society for the North Alabama region. He served as a member followed by election to the positions of Vice-President then as President in 2012. Dr. Black was selected as a community volunteer for the Mid-South Division in 2013. In 2015, Dr. Black was one of 21 volunteers throughout the USA selected to receive the St. George Medal for Service to the ACS.
Dr. Black practiced General Orthopaedic surgery 47 years in Huntsville-Madison County. During this time, he found time to hunt, fish, as well as play golf and tennis.
Most of all, he loved his family, particularly his beautiful wife, Debbie; children, Elaine and her husband, Gaius, and Kendall III; as well as Debbie’s children, Misty, Brad, and Chad. He and Debbie have nine grandchildren: Abby, Patrick, Bailey, Ashlyn, Elise, Marley, Brayden, Addison, and Hendrix.
Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 at Laughlin Service Funeral Home. The memorial service will follow in the chapel with the Rev. Coy Hallmark officiating. A private family burial will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society.