Photo Credit: FRIED ELLIOTT / friedbits.com
With a lifelong love for baseball and a passion for yacht racing, Florus “Skip” Black III was a man of routine who loved to laugh. He enjoyed things like westerns and watching the Tigers, and he was also a Frank Sinatra fanatic. Life was not always easy for Skip, and he often didn’t make life around him easy for others either, but he was blessed to receive superb care and find a bit of contentment during the last seven years of his life. As someone who lived an active life for as long as he was able, he filled his days with as many of his interests as he could. Skip’s loved ones will forever remember the positive memories they created together.
The first half of the 1940s was greatly defined by WWII. Although the war had been gaining momentum since the late 1930s, it wasn’t until the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was left with no choice but to declare war the very next day. Countless young servicemen and women were sent overseas while those who remained stateside planted victory gardens, dealt with rationing on several everyday goods, and gathered around radios patiently waiting for the latest news from the front lines. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1944 that brought great excitement into the lives of a young couple, Florus R. and Janice Black II, as they were blessed with the birth of the baby boy they named Florus R. III on March 9th. He was one of three children in his family and was raised in the family home alongside his sister, Shirley, and his brother, Robert.
After graduating from Portage High School in 1962, Skip went on to West Michigan University graduating with a bachelor of Arts degree in 1967. He also graduated from Kalamazoo Valley Community College with a degree in criminal justice in 1973. With his education behind him Skip spent several years working as a probation officer in the Kalamazoo County court system.
Skip was a man of many interests during his earlier years. He had a lifelong love for baseball and played the game while growing up. With dreams of making it in the big leagues, Skip tried out for the Detroit Tigers. Although this dream didn’t come to fruition, Skip was a lifelong Tigers fan. He also had a love for the water, and in 1970, he became the 100th lifetime member of the International Star Class Racing Association. (When he died, he was in 14th position on the lifetime membership list of the class.) As skipper of his yacht, “Jet” it was his passion for yacht racing that was the basis for his nickname of Skip.
Throughout his life Skip had several things that he loved. He was a music enthusiast and an avid Frank Sinatra fan who could sing any and every one of his songs at the drop of a hat despite not being able to carry a tune in the slightest. When it came to eating Skip was not picky as he ate everything and loved it all. It comes as no surprise that one of his favorite things to eat was classic baseball hotdogs,followed by a purple lollipop. Skip also enjoyed a good scotch and Stroh’s beer. His favorite TV show and movies were American Westerns.
Although it is unknown what exactly happened, Skip did suffer a nervous breakdown and spent his later years living in adult foster care facilities. With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Florus R Black III was a free spirit with an ever-present sense of adventure. He was a dedicated worker for as long as he was able and committed to giving everything his all. Skip will be truly missed.