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In Memory of . . . Suzanne Trappe Black (1942-2014)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Rev. Suzanne Trappe Black died on February 10, 2014 at the age of 71.  Suzanne Black was born on August 28, 1942, in Alexandria, West Virginia, to Winston Edward Black and Virginia Trappe Black (Price). She attended Mt. Holyoke College from 1960 to 1963, and then transferred to the University of Illinois. She graduated the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Art in 1965 and with a Master of Arts in 1967.  She went on to study at Starr King School for the Ministry, and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1990. 

Rev. Black was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist Ministry on May 24, 1992 by The Unitarian Universalists Fellowships of Big Sky, Billings, Bozeman, Idaho Falls, and Missoula, in Pray, Montana. She served as Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York, PA, from 1992 to 1993, and Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville, AR, from 1993 to 1994. She then served as Extension Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas, NV, from 1994 to 1997. In 1997, she was called to serve as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of South County, of Mission Viejo, CA (now called Tapestry, a Unitarian Universalist Congregation). She served there until 2000, and then served as interim minister at St. Paul’s Universalist Church, of Little Fall, NY, from 2000 to 2001.

Committed to the denomination, Rev. Black served as co-leader of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Beyond Categorical Thinking Workshop in 1993; co-organizer of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Building a Jubilee World Workshop, in 1996; and between 1997 and 2000, co-planner of three Pacific Southwest District Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Retreats. She then served as the Vice President of the Pacific Southwest District Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association Chapter, from 1999 to 2000.

Rev. Black is remembered as one who “helped the underdog,” and her occupations prior to ministry speak to this. Prior to seminary, she was steadily engaged in education and pastoral care. She taught high school French in Chicago after graduating the University of Illinois in 1967; however, the suburban lifestyle was not to her liking. In 1974, she moved to urban Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and worked as the head houseparent at a home for emotionally disturbed teenagers. She later worked as a special education teacher and an education department supervisor, in Boulder, Montana.

Rev. Black was very interested in music and animals. She was musical throughout her life, beginning with piano lessons in her childhood, and ending with karaoke following her retirement. She always had several dogs as pets, and considered the dogs to be family.

Suzanne is remembered by her sister, Judy May, as being “passionate about people, her connections with people, and [with] maintaining those connections.” She “knew how to put a good spin on things, and look at things in a positive way.”

She is survived by her sister, Judith May; brother, Theodore Black (Charlene Trappe-Black); nephews, Andrew May (Nicole May) and Brian May (Abbigail May); and niece, Ginny Black (Felicity Jackson).

Donations may be made in Suzanne's memory to Starr King School for the Ministry, 2441 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley CA 94709, to your area companion pet rescue/shelter, or to a charity of your choice.

Notes of condolences may be sent to Judy May, Box 2100 RR 1, Corner Brook, NL A2H 2N2 Canada.

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