Ace Black, 72

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Asa "Ace" Black, 72, of Bruneau, died Thursday, June 9, 2005, at his home in Bruneau, surrounded by his family and the ranch that he loved.

A vigil service was held Tuesday, June 14, at Summers Funeral Homes, McMurtrey Chapel in Mountain Home. A Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, June 15, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Mountain Home. Burial will follow at noon at Bruneau Cemetery in Bruneau. Arrangements are by Summers Funeral Homes, McMurtrey Chapel, Mountain Home.

A community dinner is planned at the American Legion Hall in Bruneau following the burial. A video tribute and a time of celebration and sharing will follow.

Ace was born in Bruneau on April 17, 1933, to Albert Lafayette and Bonnie Bernice Goddard Black. He joined an older brother, Joe and sister, Virginia. Shortly after, younger brothers Bob and Doug were added to complete the family.

"Asa was an outgoing child, always busy, always teasing others," his family said. He grew up in Bruneau, attending Bruneau schools and spending the summers at the family cow camps in the Owyhee Mountains and northern Nevada.

"He was blessed with a large, loving extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents on the ranch while he was growing up," his family said, adding, "Ace excelled in sports and enjoyed his school years, where he formed lifelong friendships." He graduated from Bruneau High School in 1951.

The Black family members were involved in rodeo from an early age, as Ace's father often furnished the livestock for rodeos, and the children would trail the animals to local events. It was at the Grand View rodeo where Ace was working as a pick-up man for the rough stock events that he met the sweetheart of his life, Marilyn Ann Nettleton. He literally "roped" her heart, and broke the window of her father's car in doing so, his family noted.

Ace and Marilyn were married on Sept. 20, 1952, at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Nampa. They began their married life in the Bruneau Valley where Ace worked for his parents on their cattle ranch and the couple began to build their family.

From there, the couple moved to Castle Creek in Oreana with their small children, then on to the Joyce Ranch on Sinker Creek near Murphy where Ace was a foreman for Dave Miller for several years. In addition to working on the ranch, Ace continued to work the local rodeos as a pick-up man.

Following their dream to have a ranch of their own, in 1962 the Blacks returned to Bruneau with their five young children, Terry, Tony, Patrick, Ann, and Martin. It was at that time that they moved into their two-story house, which was built in 1898. Shortly after their move, their five-year-old son, Patrick, was killed in an auto accident near Bruneau.

The couple continued to build their cattle herd and to ranch in the Bruneau Valley and the Owyhee Mountains and added to their family sons, Burke and Bret, and their daughter, Sandy.

"Even in the busy life of ranching, Ace always made time to take his children with him in his daily work and to support his family in their activities, which included sports, rodeo and 4-H," his family said.

As the family began to grow up and move away, Ace and Marilyn cut back on their cattle operation, and for the first time in their marriage took time to travel as a couple. They also had more time to spend on community activities.

Ace was proud to be a Charter Member of the Owyhee County Sheriff's posse, formed under Sheriff Jim Tucker to aid law enforcement in the vast areas of Owyhee County. He was involved in countless search and rescue missions, as well as serving as president of the organization during the early years of the posse. As a member of the posse, Black was involved in transporting Claude Dallas back to Idaho to stand trial in the deaths of two Idaho Fish and Game officers.

Ace and Marilyn were active in the local, state, and national cattlemen's associations "at a time when the local ranchers could count on their support to remain on the traditional ranches of the West."

He was chairman of the State Brand Committee that revised the brand laws, co-chairman of the State Public Lands Committee appointed to work closely with the State Land Board to change the grazing fees from a set charge to a fluctuating charge similar to the federal fee. That difficult task took several years to complete.

Black also was a director on the National Public Lands Committee, served as a national and state director for the Sagebrush Rebellion, and in later years, was supportive of the cattlemen's group, R-CALF USA.

Locally, Black served as a director on the Bruneau Buckaroo Ditch, was a past board member of School District #365, an activity school bus driver to his children's ball games, and a strong supporter of the 4-H, FFA and high school rodeo programs.

Over the years, Ace and Marilyn also took in several children who were in a family crisis or in need of a temporary home.

The Blacks have been active members of the Catholic community all through their married life, and sponsored many marriage encounters over the years at their cabin in the Owyhee Mountains.

"Asa's faith was strong, and he lived his beliefs openly," his family said.

Ace belonged to St. Bridgett's Catholic Church in Bruneau, but often attended Mass at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Mountain Home and St. Bernard's in Jordan Valley in his later years.

The Blacks especially treasured their grandchildren and spent many happy vacations, ball games, rodeos, wrestling matches, piano recitals, school plays, and holiday dinners with them. He also held the distinction of being the only grandfather at the "Donuts for Daddy" day for first grade students.

During his battle with cancer, Ace was proud to receive letters and calls from his grandson, Will Black, who is currently serving in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, and his grandson, Patrick Hipwell, who is a Seaman Recruit at basic training in Great Lakes, IL. "Ace was a wise Grampa, and his grandchildren sought his wisdom, advice, and stories," his family said.

"Ace and Marilyn enjoyed a long and happy marriage, but suffered many hardships that offered them an opportunity to teach their children and grandchildren the reality that life is hard, but God is good."

In 1991, Marilyn was diagnosed with a brain tumor that drastically changed her life and overnight threw Asa into the role of primary caregiver, along with being a full-time rancher and truck driver in the partnership of Ace Black Ranches that he had formed with his two oldest sons, Terry and Tony.

In September of 2002 Asa and Marilyn celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in Bruneau with their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends. "His tender care of Marilyn through the years was a beautiful testimony to all," his family said.

November of 2004 brought more changes for Ace as he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. With the support of his family and friends, he endured rounds of radiation and chemotherapy in Boise and a surgery in Salt Lake City.

Through the efforts of their children, Ace and Marilyn were able to be together after the surgery for several months until the effects of the treatments began to take their toll on Asa's strength, but not his will to live. After several hospitalizations, Ace asked to go home to Bruneau. "With the help and support of hospice, and the love of family and friends, Asa spent his last two weeks on earth looking out his window at the ranch of his dreams, holding his sweetheart's hand, visiting with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and reminiscing with family and friends," his family said.

"Ace lived hard, loved much, never gave up, and was welcomed into the gates of Heaven as a true servant of God," his family said. "By loving and caring for their mother, he taught each son to love his wife unconditionally, and his daughters to recognize genuine love and respect to expect from a man.

"Now, through the struggles of death, he has left an indelible mark on his children to live life with strong faith, and to continue to teach this tradition of love to their own children and grandchildren."

Asa was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Bonnie Black; father-in-law Jim Nettleton; a brother, Douglas; two sons, Patrick Paul and A. Lonnie; and a grandson, Colt J. Black.

He is survived by: his wife of 52 years, Marilyn; children Terry and Letha Jayo Black, Tony and Charlene Hutton Black, all of Bruneau, Ann and David Rutan of South Mountain, Idaho, Martin Black of Wilder, Elaine Hunt Black of Homedale, Burke and Gerri Ihli Black of Nampa, Bret Black and Kimber Bogue of San Luis Obispo, CA, and Sandy Black of Wilder; 21 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; his brother, Joe and his wife, Margaret Fenwick Black, of Indian Cove; sister Virginia and her husband, Clarence Miller, of Mountain Home; brother Bob and his wife, Linda Arnold Black of Nampa; mother-in-law Maudie Sothern Nettleton of Mountain Home, Marilyn's siblings, Matt and Rosemary Bailey Nettleton of The Dalles, Ore, Tim and Charlene Gardner Nettleton of Murphy, Nick and Betty Ann Walker Nettleton of Glenns Ferry; as well as several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and several close cousins and their spouses and children.

Memorial donations may be sent to St. Bridgett's Catholic Church, c/o Penny Jones, PO Box 584, Bruneau, ID 83604; Bruneau QRU, c/o Denise Stewart, PO Box 294, Bruneau, ID 83604, or flowers may be sent.