John Raymond Black, 76, of Sebastopol, CA, passed away on November 19, 2018 in Santa Rosa after a far too short battle with an aggressive cancer.
John was born in Coos Bay, Oregon to Raymond Shirley Black and Irene Mae Black on April 20, 1942. Raised on a rural dairy farm outside of Reedsport along the Smith River, John was instilled with a deep love of nature and an appreciation of the simple pleasures of life. Hiking up the creek with a fishing pole and his dog was his favorite childhood activity. He went to high school in Reedsport and graduated in 1960. John went on to earn a degree in Forestry from Oregon State University before opting to join the Marines in 1966 in lieu of being drafted by the Army.
During the height of the Vietnam war and the Tet offensive, John spent three separate six-week stints in an underground radar bunker providing targeting to Airforce planes. No daylight and no showers for six weeks at a time left a thick layer of dirt on the Marines skin that they scraped off with their fingernails. The sound of mortar fire and bunker busters falling around them did not dent John’s optimistic and compassionate nature. He earned numerous awards during his service including the National Defense Medal, Vietnamese Campaign Medal with 4 stars, Presidential Unit Citation with stars, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat, and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Following his 13-month tour in Vietnam, John was stationed at The Marine Corps Air Station El Toro as a military Judge where he met his future wife Lynne, a school teacher living on Balboa Island. After finishing his service in the military, John and Lynne married on March 28, 1970 in Great Falls, Montana and spent 48 fulfilling years together. The newlyweds moved to Eugene, OR where John worked for International Papers. IP sent John to New Haven Connecticut where he earned a master’s degree from Yale. While working for IP in Redding, CA the opportunity to own a seedling tree nursery, H and H Forest Tree Nursery, in Sebastopol came available in 1978 which started John’s forty-year stint in Sonoma County. John became involved in the Soil Conservation district and regularly attended the annual Marine Corp luncheon.
John’s last and longest career was as a Financial Advisor. For thirty-five years he provided financial planning advice for his clients and developed his own business, Innovative Wealth Solutions. He was fortunate to be able to bring his daughter, Allison, in as a partner in 2013. John loved the hunting and fishing trips he went on with his business associates and the life long friendships that were forged.
The love of nature and adventure that captivated John was passed on to his children and grandchildren. Teaching his kids and grandkids to abalone dive, crab, clam and fish, and sharing his knowledge of plants and berries was when he was most proud. Camping and playing cards with his family and friends were among his favorite pass times. The smell of the ocean breeze, or the brisk morning forest air will always bring memories of John to the people he loved.
John will forever be remembered for his caring nature, quick wit, willingness to help anyone and the fun he had giving those he loved a hard time. John loved life. Whether it was a day at the office, a holiday gathering, or going to one of the grandkids sporting events, John found enjoyment in it all. He showed his family he loved them through the cinnamon rolls, carrot pudding and apple pies he baked them, and the hours he spent building homes, fixing scooters and sitting by the campfire with them.
John is survived by his wife Lynne; sons Leland and Cameron, daughter Allison; and his 4 grandchildren, Mackenzie, Travis, Jackson, and Johnny.
A celebration of life will be held for John at Shone Farms Dutton Agricultural Pavilion, 7450 Steve Olson Lane, Forestville, CA on Sunday, December 16 at 2:00pm.