One of Collone’s most respected citizens, Mr Joe Black (born August 1921), has died – he led a full and productive life, as a family man, in farming and in his beloved church.
His caring character was established early in life. The son of Robert and Emily Black, his father died when Joe was just 10, leaving Joe, the eldest son, and six siblings. His mother depended a lot on her eldest son to help her run the small farm and it meant keeping him at home from school on occasions.
Joe left Collone School at 14 and started working in his uncle’s quarry, driving a horse and cart. He owned one of the first tractors in the area, a Standard Fordson, which he used to draw flax to the mills and markets.
During the Second World War, Joe worked throughout the district with his famous tractor, helping the war effort during this time of compulsory tillage. His love of farming lasted during his long and happy life. He worked as an agricultural contractor, covering a wide area and keeping up with the latest inventions of the day – he carried out threshing, baling, corn binding, combine harvesting, slurry spreading, mole draining and work with his digger.
During this time, he was married (June 11, 1947) to Lily Patton from Drumachee, Collone, and they set up home at Altaturk.
They had a family of nine, four sons and five daughters – Ronnie, Edith Patton, Christine Watt, Evelyn McKee, Audrey Dillon, Alistair, Robert, May Gordon and Dessie. Mrs Black is still alive, and Joe leaves 24 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two brothers, Leslie and Charlie and a sister Ena.
He was totally devoted to his large extended family, a principle that was inculcated in him early in life, given his devotion to his mother.
He was a member of Druminnis Presbyterian Church since 1947 and was deeply involved in the life of the church. He served on the committee for 44 years and was congregational treasurer for 17 years – he rarely missed Sunday worship, having become a Christian in his late teens.
Mr Black was a member of the Orange Order for almost 77 years. He was originally a member of Redrock LOL 788, and transferred to Rockmacreaney LOL 114 in 1947. In 1961, he was elected Worshipful Master and held the office for 26 years.
During this time, he held office in Richhill District No 2 – District Treasurer 1968-69; Deputy District Master 1970-80; Worshipful District Master 1981-1990.
He was Worshipful District Master of Markethill Royal Black District from 1982-85, having been Deputy from 1976.
Mr Black, who passed away peacefully in the stroke unit of Craigavon Area Hospital, also enjoyed the pipe bands scene, and attended many parades and contests.
He was still actively working with his digger until well into his 80s, and was loved by his family and by the wider community.
The funeral service was at his beloved Druminnis Presbyterian Church, with Rev Sam Finlay officiating. Burial was in the adjoining churchyard.