Charles Lee Black III
Born on November 3rd, 1940 in Wichita, Kansas
Passed away on March 6, 2019 in Denver, Colorado
78 years old
Charisma is a rare quality of an individual’s personality, an exceptional quality that sets one apart. Those possessing this quality are regarded as exemplary and treated as a leader. Charles Lee Black III embodied a harmonious blend of charismatic leadership which enabled him to reach far beyond his humble beginnings in Wichita, Kansas.
Charles, Chuck or Butch as he was affectionately known by friends and family was the oldest of 6 children to Charles Lee Black Jr. and Hazel Marie (Adkins) Black. Born on November 3rd, 1940, he and his twin sister Charlene, were one of the 2 sets of twins in their family along with younger twins, Gerald “Jerry” and Geraldine. Charles was a big brother and mentor for his younger brothers Cedric “Dale” and Anthony “Tony”. The youngest, Tony, fondly remembers seeking advice from Charles and always receiving wise and timely counsel.
At a young age, Charles’ musical talents were rooted in the church, where he played the organ and added his wide-ranging vocals to the choir. That early love of music would sustain throughout his life as the soundtrack to his prevailing leadership. Graduating from East High School in Wichita, Kansas, Charles was a member of his school’s diving team and played saxophone in the school’s marching band. As a young man, Charles toured far and wide with his gospel church group to further hone his musical prowess.
In the mid 60’s, Charles moved to Denver, Colorado to pursue his music profession. Over the next 40 years, Charles toured from coast-to-coast with many bands such as Special Delivery, THE Salt and Pepper, Royal Society, The Cut-Ups and the Chuck Black Trio. His accumulated knowledge and experience lead him to form his own band, JAAVA, in the 1980’s. That band would meet great success and have the privilege to publish and release their own songs, tour and perform with the likes of Billy Davis Jr., El Chicano, and Marilyn McCool. Most of all, his band shared their love and unique brand of music with hundreds of thousands of people around the country.
He transitioned his extensive leadership and experience to work with the Denver Public Schools Department of Transportation. He received many awards for his work ethic and dependability. He applied his influence and magnetic personality to lead the local union on behalf of his co-workers improving working conditions, pay and benefits. Charles retired from DPS in 2005.
We will miss our brother, husband, father, uncle, grandfather, mentor and friend. Chuck was known for his wonderful storytelling. Stories from the road, stories from his childhood and everything in between. All of those stories contained life lessons and conveyed his enthusiasm for music and life. Please share your memories about Chuck here. These memories will continue to lead us as he led his band, in harmony.
Charles Lee Black III is survived by his wife, Harriett Jean Black; sons, Charles L. (Nevelyn) Black IV, Jeff (Debra) Black, and Chauncey Smiley; daughters, Monica Black, Tanya Black, and Jaqueline Pointer; sister, Charlene Avery; brothers, Dale (Margie) Black and Anthony (Barbara) Black; grandchildren, Ashley, Aaron, Jonetta, Tiffany, Naomi, Shayna, and Jordan. He is preceded in death by his parents, Hazel and Charles Black, Jr.; brother, Gerald Black; and sister, Geraldine Kinnard.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...
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