Kenneth L. Black 1942-2023

Kenneth Lowry Black, 80, of Washington, IL, died on August 22, 2023, at OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home under the gentle care of his family and the OSF hospice team.

He was born in Peoria in 1942 to Kenneth W. and Edith Lowry Black and lived most of his life in Washington.

At Washington Community High School he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball. In whatever sport he took on, he excelled, with golf becoming his primary focus after school. In addition to his athletic prowess, Ken was an avid outdoorsman with a love and respect for nature. Fishing, hunting, and working with hunting dogs became his lifelong avocations. He became a highly successful dog trainer/handler, winning dozens of national and regional shooting dog amateur championships.

Along with his active life in the outdoors, he was an enthusiastic reader, fully engaging his mind in new ideas and considerations of human nature.

Following his graduation from Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, he attended Florida State University on a basketball scholarship, then transferred to Bradley University, where he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

He graduated in 1966. Knowing the military draft was on the near horizon, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. In 1968, he was deployed to Viet Nam as a Second Lieutenant and served at Khe Sanh. Despite his antipathy to that war, he never entertained "draft dodger" mentality, duty bound to honor his commitment. Unfortunately, his exposure to Agent Orange would be a causative factor in his demise. Perhaps with some atonement on the part of the USMC, he was next stationed at Camp Pendleton where he played basketball for the Marines in the California sunshine.

Upon his return to civilian life, he obtained a law degree from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1974, then joined his father in the family firm, Black and Black. He remained in law practice with his father and later two nephews, Robert W. Brown, Jr. and David A. Brown for over 45 years, with the firm becoming Black Black and Brown. Over 30 of those years included serving as the City Attorney for the City of Washington. He was admitted to practice in the Illinois Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, and U.S. Supreme Court. In 2001 the Tazewell County Bar Association honored him with their Volunteer of the Year Award for his generous pro bono work. As an attorney, Ken aspired to the highest ideals of the law and remained loyal to that intent for all his professional life. Honesty and devotion in representing his clients was a constant in his life.

He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Coulter, his son, Travis Black, and his best bird dog, Crow Creek Sugarbaby. Also surviving are his brother, Bruce Black (Patricia Bass), a large extended family of nephews, nieces, and cousins, his former wife, Paula Prutsman, Carolyn's step-daughter, Kris Uhler, and more friends than most people can ever dream of. His parents predeceased him as well as his sister, Barbara Brown.

A private family memorial and inurnment is planned, and a public celebration of life event will occur at a later date. 

Posted on September 11, 2023 by Celeste Antoinette Niemann

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