MARY BLACK: SPECIAL RECOGNITION


Mary Black was a member of the GCF, the Midwest and Southern Councils and the FFF.   When I first knew her, she and her husband Ron were in the paint contracting business in Tulsa.  She was born in 1937 and was probably 34 yeasr of age when she became a member of the Green Country Flyfishers in the early ’70s.    She came as an accomplished and avid flyfisher, her Dad having taught her on the banks of the Roaring River in Missouri. She loved that water and owned a piece of property adjacent to the Roaring River State Park, near Cassville, Missouri.  The State condemned and consolidated the property into the State Park.   I would guess that was in the early 90’s.

She was exceptional in that she immediately “fit into” all the activities of the Green Country Flyfishers and was eager to help the Club develop.   On the stream she excelled in the sport and needed no special attention.   She would walk miles to enjoy a special water.   Her husband, Ron, was not a fly fisher but was always available when his services were needed.

Mary served the Green Country Flyfishers as the first lady member of its Board of Directors.   She and Joel Kantor created the Bob Cunningham Award to honor people with exceptional service records in the club, the council and the FFF, and she later became a recipient of it herself.   When the GCF divided, creating the Tulsa Flyfishers, she immediately served as Vice President of the Tulsa organization and remained active until she and Ron retired to their farm near Washburn, Missouri.  

For many years she and Ron provided their two-story cabin next to Roaring River State Park for the Winter meetings and lodging of the Council’s Board of Directors, and she was there to make sure they could devote all their time to their meetings and relaxation on the banks of the Roaring River.

Mary earned recognition throughout the FFF. At the club level, she received the GCF's Bob Cunningham Award. At the Council level, she was honored by being chosen to receive both the Midwest Council’s Award of Excellence and its first Woman of the Year award.   Mary was elected the first Southern Council’s Vice President for Development in 1990, a new office created by the FFF's restructuring of its regional councils in order for the councils to qualify for 501 (c) 3 tax exemption status.

At the national level, Mary was elected as the first lady member of the FFF's Executive Committee   She earned two President’s Pins and was FFF Woman of the Year.   When the FFF’s facilities badly needed repair, she and Ron remained in West Yellowstone for an extended period of time after the Conclave to correct what problems they could at their own expense. When FFF President Van Guytenbeek asked if I could develop a Whitlock Vibert Box Display Aquarium for the FFF museum at West Yellowstone, Mary and Ron furnished and applied the beautiful finish to the large cabinet which supported the 60 gallon aquarium.

Although the sport lost this fine lady on March 25, 1999, she left behind a beautiful legacy.

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