Robert W. Black Jr., a Baltimore businessman and US Lacrosse board member, dies

Robert W. Black Jr., a certified public accountant and Baltimore businessman who was a former board member of US Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, died April 6 at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center of complications from a fall.

The Ruxton resident was 83.

“His name brings a smile to my face. Bob was an absolute favorite of our staff,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of US Lacrosse, which is headquartered in Sparks. “We appreciated his laid-back style and wry grin and youthful chuckle.

“He was not the least bit stodgy and made everyone feel comfortable and welcome,” Mr. Stenersen said.

Robert Wilmer Black Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in the 7100 block of Bellona Ave. in Pinehurst. He was the son of Robert W. Black, a certified public accountant, and Gertrude Black, a homemaker.

He attended McDonogh School for 12 years, starting as a boarder in the first grade and continuing through graduation in 1953.

“Bob Black was one of the nicest guys I ever knew. He was such an easy-going guy,” said Irvin “Irv” Naylor, of Glyndon, who attended McDonogh with Mr. Black.

He was president of his senior class at McDonogh, as well as president of the Student Officers of Private Schools of Maryland, captain of the basketball team and captain of the school cavalry. He also played football and lacrosse, where he was a midfielder and attackman.

“He was a good athlete and a good lacrosse player,” Mr. Naylor said. “He played varsity his sophomore, junior and senior year, which is very unusual.”

An inveterate equestrian, Mr. Black was 13 years old when he and his horse, Lady Bug, won the prestigious, grueling two-day, 100-mile Green Mountain Horse Association trail race in Vermont.

In 1953, Mr. Black receivved the Cornell University National Scholarship Award, which covered his full tuition at its college of arts and sciences. At Cornell he was captain of the lacrosse team, was an All-American and competed in lacrosse against the legendary Jim Brown, the Syracuse midfielder who later became a celebrated NFL running back and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Mr. Black also served as president of the Men’s Judiciary Counsel at Cornell, president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was in the Navy ROTC. After graduating in 1957 with a degree in economics, he served aboard the cargo ship USS Betelgeuse as a lieutenant with the Atlantic Fleet.

Discharged in 1959, he returned to Baltimore and joined his father in the family accounting firm, Black and Co., which was founded in 1907 by his grandfather, Wilmer Black. In 1963, Mr. Black earned his certified public accounting license and became a third-generation CPA, practicing in the city.

“After McDonogh, Bob went to Cornell and I went to the University of Miami and we didn’t see a lot of each other during those years,” said Mr. Naylor, who established a number of ski resorts, including Ski Liberty in Fairfield, Pa. “I started a couple of businesses and I needed a tax accountant … so I contacted him.

“He was able to help me get tax relief, and I got to sponsor him with clients and potential clients because I knew a lot of people in business in New York,” he said. “It was a symbiotic relationship.”

After Black and Co. merged with Arthur Young & Co., Mr. Black became managing partner of the firm’s Baltimore office. He later went into private practice. He retired in 2005.

He also had been president of the Maryland Association of CPAs and served on the board of the Maryland Teachers and State Employees Supplemental Plan.

He retained his interest in lacrosse, and followed McDonogh’s team. He also followed the teams at Penn State and Duke University, where two of his grandchildren played the sport.

From 2001 to 2007, Mr. Black served on the board of US Lacrosse and was the organization’s treasurer. In 2006 he was named US Lacrosse Director of the Year.

“He was a wonderful example of a board member,” Mr. Stenersen said. “Here was this buttoned-up, professional business guy in a suit and tie, but … he had a very youthful side and was very disarming and welcoming.”

Mr. Black’s tenure with US Lacrosse coincided with the organization’s growth and the sport’s widening popularity.

“Bob cared deeply about what we were doing,” Mr. Stenersen said. “He wasn’t a talker but a listener. When he talked, he made succinct points. He did not seek attention and was humble, selfless and thoughtful.”

Mr. Black liked fast cars and airplanes and held a private pilot’s license, family members said.

“Two years ago at age 81, he bought a Porsche 911 Carrera,” said his son, Robert W. Black III of Lutherville. “He also had owned two planes — a Cessna 150 Series and a Beechcraft Musketeer.”

A golfer, he was a member of the Baltimore Country Club, where he had served as treasurer, and the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

Services are private.

In addition to his son, Mr. Black is survived by a daughter, Jennifer Black Kaurinki of Sarasota, Fla.; two sisters, Marilyn B. Nuttle and Anne B. Evans, both of Baltimore; and five grandchildren. A marriage to the former Sally Shake Anthony ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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