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COL Clinton James Black, USA (Ret)

COL Clinton James Black, USA (Ret)

Dec 19, 1938 - Dec 17, 2021

COL Clinton James Black, USA (Ret) - Obituary


he fifth of seven children, Clinton James Black was born on 19 December 1938 in Beatrice, Alabama, to the late Billie Black and Vida Oweda Bradley Black. Clinton attended public schools in Beatrice, Alabama. At Monroe County Training School, he played on the high school basketball and football teams as well as on a community baseball team. After high school graduation in 1958, he enrolled at Tuskegee Institute (University) where, as a freshman, he played football for the Golden Tigers. He graduated from Tuskegee in 1963 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Industries with a Certificate in Electronics. He spied Rhutelia McCants a.k.a. “sugah”, as she competed in a junior high school basketball game. He courted her throughout high school and remained her steady even though she attended Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Alabama. They married in 1962. From their union were born three children: Michael, Michelle, and Marcia. In 1964, Clinton entered the U.S. Army Officer Corps after successfully applying for a direct commission to 2nd Lieutenant. Clinton completed airborne jump school earning the parachutist badge and paratrooper moniker. Subsequently, he survived two combat tours in Vietnam. Clinton later changed specialty from the Medical Service Corps to the Signal Corps. For the remainder of his service, he managed command and control information and communications systems. Through the military, Clinton earned a Master of Business Administration, completed systems engineering training, and graduated from the Army War College. He enjoyed assignments and travel, both domestic and foreign, with especially memorable posts in Eritrea (formerly Ethiopia) and Hawaii. With over 28 years of honorable, gallant, and distinguished service, Clinton retired in 1992 at the rank of full-bird colonel. His decorations include the Bronze Star, other medals and ribbons, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff badge. Clinton experienced a second career holding key leadership positions for a few small, local businesses, and did not fully retire until 2013. Clinton possessed a fantastic memory. He never forgot the people he met. He prided himself on the foundational training that he received during his youth from his parents, church, and teachers. He aspired to live by his parents’ instruction: “Don’t do something and just say it’s your best; do your best.” From a teacher and high school class advisor, he learned another motto: “Be somebody, help somebody, and serve somebody.” Clinton embodied this throughout his life. As he personally strived to advance through the military ranks, Clinton always employed his great memory to connect fellow and junior African-American service members with one another to establish informal networks for sharing advice, exchanging lessons learned, and creating community. As a little boy, Clinton confessed Christian faith at New Purchase Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Beatrice, Alabama, and grew in faith over the years. He and Rhutelia made St. Paul United Methodist Church of Oxon Hill, Maryland, their family’s church home, becoming members in 1976 under the pastorate of Reverend, Dr. Roland J. Timity and remaining faithful servants to this day. Clinton was active on the Church Council, in the fellowship of United Methodist Men, and in the Adult Sunday School class. He loved to talk. Applying this gift, he visited or called the sick, shut-in, and bereaved when he was able. Clinton helped conceive the Tanner Community Resource Center (TCRC), Inc., a local non-profit which addresses clothing and food insecurity in the surrounding neighborhood. He frequently volunteered there. He was an avid golfer and co-chaired the TCRC, Inc. Golf Tournament, the organization’s primary fundraiser for 15 years. Clinton never forgot the bigotry, discrimination, and racism that he witnessed and experienced growing up in lower Alabama where segregation and Jim Crow laws prevailed. The recent explosion of viral videos capturing the prejudice, unnecessary violence, and deadly force exacted upon young men and women of color resonated with Clinton who grew into manhood during the civil rights era. He was compelled to do something. Clinton designed, wore and sold “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts to draw attention to the cause, be a walking advertisement for peace, love, and justice, and personally promote true equality. A licensed realtor in the state of Maryland, Clinton also dabbled part-time in real estate. His other hobbies included bowling and softball. While stationed in Hawaii and under the auspices of the Tropic Lightning Ques, the Lambda Beta Beta chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Clinton completed the membership intake process. He proudly represented the fraternity, embodying their tenets and brandishing their paraphernalia. Given his amazing memory and analytic mind, Clinton also delighted in playing cards games of strategy (bridge and especially bid whist) as well as games of chance (poker, rummy, tonk). He really enjoyed reading the Monroe County Journal and Washington Post newspapers as well as watching the local news and CNN then talking about what he learned and heard. An “oral historian”, Clinton often reminisced on stories about Grandpa Tom and Rebecca “Mother Bec” Black (the roots of the Black Family tree). He marveled at their achievements, reveled in being a descendant, was fulfilled by extending the lineage, and was inspired to see the seventh generation through his grandchildren. Clinton was recently hospitalized and courageously battled against a formidable blood disorder during his last earthly campaign. Consummate solider and sentinel that he was, Clinton heeded the ultimate bugle/trumpet call, reporting for duty at his new, victorious, and heavenly post when he transitioned on 17 December 2021. Preceding him in death were his brothers Billy C. Black, Ph.D. and Bradley Franklin Black, and sisters Crystal Donella Black Brown and Velma O’Lillian Black Pace. Clinton is survived by his wife Rhutelia McCants Black. Their legacy includes: son Michael B. Black (Wilda); daughters Michelle B. Black and Marcia B. Black; and adult grandchildren Jordan N. Black, Clinton M. Black, and Hannah M. Black. Clinton is also survived by two siblings: Dan T. Black, Ph.D. (Maude), Fort Valley, Georgia; and Dovie B. Holliman (Charles), Dublin, Georgia; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; in-laws Cecil Pace of McDonough, Georgia, and Helen Jennings Black of Albany, Georgia, and friends. Visitation will be from 12 pm – 1 pm followed by the funeral service at 1 pm, Thursday, December 30, 2021 at St. Paul UMC of Oxon Hill, MD, with Rev. Dr. Daryl Williams officiating. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, February 3, 2022 at 9 a.m. PLEASE ARRIVE AT THE ADMINISTRATION BUILDING PARKING LOT NO LATER THAN 8:30 A.M. WITH ONE'S OWN TRANSPORTATION AND GOVERNMENT ISSUED PHOTO IDENTIFICATION. * PLEASE SEE THE REQUIREMENTS BELOW TO ENTER ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY*. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his honor be made to the Tanner Community Resource Center, Inc. or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society COL Black's Service will be live streamed. Always and Forever Video is a Facebook Live link, yet it is not necessary to be a Facebook user. Viewers simply click onto the link and then click onto the live stream that will become available at 12:50 PM EST. For viewers who click in before 12:50 PM EST, it may be necessary to refresh your browser to access. The live stream will naturally have sound; viewers just need to be sure that all speakers are set to ON. Click here to watch the recorded service for COL Black. CLICK HERE TO VIEW COL BLACK'S PROGRAM Arlington National Cemetery Visitor Screening Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) has updated its security measures to ensure the safety and security of all visitors and employees. In addition to random identification checks and other security measures already in place, ANC has implemented 100% ID checks at all entrances and requires all visitors to go through physical screening. 100% ID Checks All visitors 16 years of age and older (pedestrians, drivers and passengers) must present a valid photo identification upon entering the cemetery. Visitors include all funeral attendees, tourists and personnel on official business. School group leaders and tour guides must also present the required identification. Original documentation is required. Paper copies or cell phone photos are not accepted.  Visitors 18 years of age and older must present a valid U.S. state or federal government- issued photo identification for entry.  Visitors 16 and 17 years old who do not have a U.S. state or federal government-issued photo identification may present an official school-issued photo identification for entry.  Persons who are not U.S. citizens must present a valid passport or U.S. State Department-issued photo identification for entry. We ask for your patience, as this will create longer than usual delays. Cemetery officials are reminding all visitors to add a few extra minutes to their travel times. Physical Screening All pedestrian traffic will be required to enter Arlington National Cemetery at one of the four access points:  The cemetery’s main entrance on Memorial Avenue  Ord & Weitzel gate  Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Old Post Chapel gate  Service Complex gate off Columbia Pike The pedestrian access point from Memorial Avenue will be through the Welcome Center. There will be up to four (4) lines for visitors who do not have bags. Those with disabilities will have a separate access point in compliance with all disability laws.