My husband—Loughlin “Lock” Douglas Black born November 1, 1942 in NY, NY—passed away August 9, 2021 at Lakeland Regional Hospital in Lakeland, Florida with me Ardean Suzanne (née Wood) “Susie” and our eldest son Loughlin, holding his hands.
Lock was born to Robert “Bob” Xavier and Margaret “Marie” (née Cleaves) Black. Lock’s father served as a sergeant in the NYPD. Marie was raised in a small town in Haynesville, Maine to Orice and Elbridge Cleaves part of a large (8 children) loving family. Lock has many cousins on the Cleaves side with whom we have enjoyed sharing our lives. A few of his cousins have lived in Florida including Paul and Elbridge and Glenn and Alicia with whom we have the opportunity to visit and become closer.
Lock’s father Bob had two older older brothers Loughlin, Harry and one sister Grace. Grace’s daughter Patricia Tuthill is Lock’s only cousin on the Black family side.
Lock had a life long passion for cars. Throughout his life he subscribed to many car magazines and thoroughly reviewed each and every issue. He loved to keep up with the times and planned for his next vehicle to be an all electric Mustang. Lock had an amazing memory for cars. All his life he was able to correctly diagnose what was wrong with a car by sound and touch. He always loved to drive and never wanted to be a passenger. He was an excellent driver and was well matched to me since I prefer being a passenger.
One of our favorite family stories was when he drove by himself from Orient, Maine to Sacramento, California (over 3500 miles) in less than 48 hours to marry me.
He only stopped for gas and short naps. This marathon cross country trip was completed in his 1969 Mach 1 Mustang with a high performance engine. A cop waved at him in the dessert in Nevada, while Lock was going over 100 miles an hour, as the speed limit at the time and place was whatever was safe and prudent.
Lock also had a passion for cards including playing poker weekly at the Houlton, Maine Elks Club. Another card game Lock excelled at was duplicate bridge. He achieved the rank of life master in 1992. He taught me to play bridge. We spent many happy times playing bridge in California, Maine and Florida and throughout our travels in our motor home. We made many long lasting friendships at the bridge table. A third love is his life long love for dogs particularly our seven beloved dogs, six of which were golden retrievers. Our first dog “Dum-dum” was a super smart Australian Shepard. Next was our first golden “Zip the wonder dog.” Then “Minnie” the mother of 8 puppies, two of whom we kept: “Jack and Sasha.” The last two were “Ralph and Lauren”, whom we adopted from our neighbors in Lakeland, Florida.
Another passionate interest he had was for sports, especially football, but also baseball. His team was always the N.Y. Yankees. At age fifteen, he had a job as a hot dog vendor where he could watch the game. Another passion was T.V. He recorded everything so he could skip the commercials. In addition to sports and car shows and the History Channel and police dramas, he was also particularly interested in news and politics.
Most of all he cared about his family. He was fortunate to spend most of his life living next door to his mom and dad in Orient, Maine. His parents spent November to April in Florida. His father loved doing the books for the Orient, Maine store. Lock not at all. The day they arrived back home he gratefully carried the books over to his dad, Bob. What a lucky guy to be able to walk to work and take his dog with him. His mom Marie loved to work in the store. Also his Aunt Ardis, Marie’s sister. What fun they were. Black’s Store and the Post Office were the social center of Orient. We made so many friends. The store was only 2 miles from the New Brunswick-Maine Canadian border. Half our customers and friends including our bridge friends were Canadian.
When we were married, he owned a 1969 Ford Shelby Mustang, a 1957 T-Bird convertible, Bonneville motorcycle, and a snowmobile. High performance cars were always a priority for him. He dies owning a Porsche Boxster Classic MG and a Volkswagen SUV. He never truly wanted to own an SUV but acquiesced to my desires.
While In NY, Lock attended a parochial grammar school and started attending John Adams high school. After moving to Orient, Maine with his family, Lock finished at Ricker Classical Institute in Houlton, Maine. After high school Lock attended college in Canada at the University of New Brunswick where he studied Civil Engineering, increasing his knowledge of science, machinery, and how things work.
Lock’s school age experiences in New York had their ups and downs. He developed a life long dislike of nuns and bullies at his catholic parochial school. Lock tended to find himself in trouble with the institution’s nuns, unlike his devout, well mannered elder brother Robert, RXB the second. The nuns never forgave him for not being his older brother, Robert. The nuns reminded him of his failings on a daily basis. Unsurprisingly, Lock’s relationship with the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) never recovered. When in kindergarten, his mother Marie jumped out of the bushes one day and knocked the fourth-grade school bullies heads together, telling them to not bully her son again. Marie was very articulate and scared the bejesus out of them. Although the nuns continued to beat him with switch rulers the bullies never bothered him again. This was one of Lock’s fondest memories of his mother and he loved to share it.
After college, Lock got a job with the Maine Department of Highways where he helped build Interstate 95, the Maine north-south route. In the summer he was an inspector of the roads for the state, in the winter he surveyed on snowshoes. In June of 1969 we met at “The In-Crowd” in Ogunquit, Maine. After a whirlwind, intense courtship filled with memories of Lock picking me up after work on his motorcycle, his ‘57 t-bird convertible, or his Shelby, moonlight walks, picnics at the beach, and philosophical talks on the meaning of life. We married in my home town of Sacramento, California September 19, 1969. I flew home from Maine early to help plan our wedding at my parents’ family’s Presbyterian Church. Lock drove out later in his muscle car, a 1969 Mustang. It took him less than 48 hours to drive more than 3500 miles, stopping only for gas and short naps.
After traveling to California to get married we drove back to Bangor, Maine where we lived for several months, while Lock continued to work for the state surveying and constructing I-95. Every night my dad Jack called trying to entice us back to Sacramento with job offers. I was sure he really missed me and wanted us back in California. We all eventually agreed and Lock and I moved back to California where he worked for my dad, his father-law Jack Wood at Wood Brothers.
During this part of our marriage Lock had the opportunity to become closer to my side of the family. My brother Glenn at nineteen was best man at our wedding. (Later Glenn and Lock started an antique car restoration business together.) Brothers Gary age seventeen and Ronald age twenty-two were groomsman and my sister Mary at fifteen, maid of honor. When I told Glenn and Gary that I was getting married on September 19 they at first replied that they wouldn’t be able to attend because it conflicted with their plans to go deer hunting. Lock and I bought our first home together and started our family in Sacramento. Our son Loughlin was born in the same hospital (Sutter Memorial) where I was born. Our second son Eric soon followed eighteen months later.
In November 1974 Lock moved us back to Maine to be near his family. He eventually bought Blacks’ General Store which he ran for almost 30 years. Our daughter Jessica Megan born in Houlton, Maine. Lock also became the post master in Orient, Maine. The post office was in the same building as the store. We lived across the street from the store in the oldest (pre-civil war) and largest (over 5,000 square feet) house in Orient Maine where we raised our family and welcomed all family and friends with a pretty-much open door policy. It wasn’t fancy. My grandmother Kennedy thought it was a mansion because it was so big Far from it was more like an old farmhouse. It was built as a place for the stage coaches to stop and rest and change horses and deliver the mail. When Lock was fifteen his father retired from the NYPD police force and moved his family to Orient, a small town (year round population 145, summer and weekend population 400) rural Maine near to the Cleaves family homestead in Haynesville. Bob fulfilled his dream of buying and running a general store when he bought a general store built before the turn of the century. Blacks’ general store had the original metal ceiling. It had electricity and heat, but no running water. Across the street was his and later our family home when Lock and I acquired the store from his Aunt Ardis who had acquired it from his brother RXB “Bob” the second, whom had acquired it from their father RXB “Bob” the first. The house was huge, over 5000 square feet. It was built pre-civil war. The house was so large because it was where they they stopped to change the horses on the stage run from Danforth to Houlton. Next to the store was a large barn for the horses.
At first, the house only had two bathrooms, one upstairs one down. It had both wood and oil heating. Lock spent many hours in the basement feeding the wood furnace. I was often cold in winter but we had a fire place and lots of blankets, In our first few years there, the downstairs sink would freeze and often bats would find their way from our attic. Actually it was a half bath but whatever it was home where all who wanted to come were welcome. We really enjoyed having extra kids in the summer. For many years our nephews Rob and Doug and their sister Bernie took turns spending summers with us earning money working in the store. We loved having extra kids. We also had many holiday memories. We also eventually bought the oldest most ramshackled camp on East Grand lake: 28 miles long, second largest lake in Maine, part in Maine and part in Canada.
Our camp wasn’t much (no updates since it was built in 1930) but we welcomed all who cared to come. We had many family reunions where Lock’s mother Marie insisted on washing and reusing all plastic utensils. For many years Lock’s mom Marie and her sister, Aunt Ardis, worked the counter in the store. What fun they were. Our kids always worked in our store, learning to make change before they entered kindergarten. Ardis’ daughter Alicia worked in the store. So many memories. I often ran back and forth across the street to be home with the kids or worked in the store with them in a play-pin until they entered school. Then I taught school and worked as a speech pathologist. We spent many years visiting and sharing holidays and families with Marie’s and Ardis’ sister Irma. So many memories and relatives but eventually Lock and I shared relatives and families. Eventually all three kids graduated college and moved away, Lock lived next door to his mom and Dad until they passed away.
Lock retired on his 60th birthday, first day he could. He called retirement the best job he ever had. Together with me by his side he lived his dream of buying a motor home a 40 ft diesel pusher, touring the country. Lock drove (along with two of our beloved goldens Jack and Sasha) thousands of miles up and down the east coast and across the US and Canada. Together we traveled to all the states, visiting many national parks and friends and relatives, especially my family and our kids along the way. Many trips included visiting my family in California including my BFF and sister of my heart Marie “Ree” and Rees’ husband Ray.
For many years we have lived in Lakeland FL making close relationships with friends and neighbors.
Besides me he leaves our sons Loughlin, Eric and our daughter Jessica. Two brothers Robert and Christoper, our west coast family: Glenn, Gary, and Mary, Marie and Ray and special Florida/Maine friends Ron and Nancy. And many loving nieces and nephews and cousins and also wonderful neighbors and special bridge friends.
There are no services planned at this time. Condolences may be sent to the family at Gentry-Morrison Funeral Homes.