Not a member? Become one today!
         iBerkshires     Williamstown Chamber     Williams College     Your Government     Land & Housing Debate

Submit Obituary Here

Search all obituaries on
Printer Friendly Version
   Send to a friend
John G. Black, 89

January 17, 2021

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. —  John Gordon Black of Williamstown, Massachusetts died Sunday, January 17th, 2021 at home with his family. An optimistic man with a generous spirit and a positive outlook, he was respected and loved by all who knew him.

John was the middle child of five born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Samuel Oscar Black and Gladys Frances Gulliford. He graduated from local schools and then served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict. After his discharge, he studied electronics and electrical engineering at both the Dunwoody Institute and the University of Minnesota on the GI Bill.

John met Nancy Lee Holsapple at the First Baptist Church in Minneapolis while attending a college young people's Bible class. Two years later, they were married at that church.

While attending college, John worked at The Perkins Engraving Company in Minneapolis. While there, Excelsior Printing Company in North Adams, Mass. opened an engraving section and was looking for someone to run it. They were introduced to John and subsequently hired him and moved his family to Massachusetts. This began what would become a long career in Engraving.

He served as President of Excelsior Engraving Co., in North Adams, Massachusetts as well as the Standard Engraving Co. in Oakland, California. He was elected President of the Engraved Stationery Manufacturing Association and served on several Boards of Directors including The Hoosac Bank, The Taconic Golf Course, the Williamstown Finance Committee and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. John was an industry innovator and a leader. Fundamental to John’s strong leadership ability was his belief that each individual can make a difference. He rightfully earned the respect of his peers

Most important to John was his wife and family. He remained close with his children and grandchildren throughout his life with whom he planned numerous adventures including ocean and lake vacations to Lake George, Carr Island and Block Island. John loved golf and spent more than a few hours per week at Taconic Golf Club.

John is survived by his wife of 66 years, Nancy Lee Black, his brother Jerry Black, many nieces and nephews, his three children: David John Black and wife Loretta, Alexandra Lee Black Eckhardt and husband Fritz and Karen Lynn Black; as well as his eight grandchildren: Bryan Paul Roach, Thomas James Nicholas Roach, Matthew John Roach, Julian Alexander Eckhardt, Derrek John Eckhardt, Anya Lee Eckhardt, Steven Ryan Black and Kevin Douglas Black; as well as his two great grandsons: Hartley Luckner Black and Carter Peyton Black.

Due to the Covid pandemic, a private family ceremony and burial will be held on Friday, January 22nd, at the East Lawn Cemetery in Williamstown, Massachusetts. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to The Community Bible Church Food Pantry located in Williamstown in care of the Flynn & Dagnoli Funeral Home, CENTRAL CHAPEL,74 Marshall St. North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit

Recollections & Sympathy For the Family
Post Comment
Nancy and Family, Steve and I are saddened to learn of John’s passing. We were fortunate to get to know him when we first moved to town and attended the Baptist Church and Williamstown. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
from: Donna Nareyon: 01-25-2021

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, I remember John always had a kind word said with a smile during my employment at Excelsior. May you be comforted by those around you and your memories.
from: Joan Wnukon: 01-23-2021

I was an employee of Excelsior for 4 years. John was a wonderful a president and human being. Sending my heartfelt sympathy during this difficult time. R..I.P. John.
from: Dot Wandreion: 01-22-2021

Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Much Love,
from: Colleen Choquetteon: 01-22-2021

I was sorry to hear of John's passing. He was a fellow neighbor, member of the Williams College Faculty Club, British antique car enthusiast and a fine gentleman.
from: Patrick Quinnon: 01-22-2021

So sorry to hear of John's passing, my thoughts and prayers go out to the Black family. If it wasn't for John coming to the area to run Excelsior Process & Engraving many people would have not had the long careers that they had in the printing industry.
from: David Emery on: 01-22-2021

Submit Obituary Here is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Sreet, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2011 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved