Former educator and long-time state representative Bill Black, who served the community of Danville and Vermilion County, has passed away at the age of 81. Black made significant contributions to the area through his service as a state representative, member of the Danville City Council, as well as the Danville Area Community College Board of Trustees.
Bill Black’s impact on the community was far-reaching. He was born in Danville on November 11, 1941, and attended Danville High School. Black then pursued higher education, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in business administration from William Jewell College, a master’s degree in education from the University of Illinois, and pursued post-graduate studies at Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University.
His dedication to education continued in his professional career. Black worked at the Danville Area Community College in the marketing office and later served as the director of adult education, corporate education, and community education. In 1986, he left his position at DACC to fill the state House seat vacated by Babe Woodyard.
During his time as a state representative from 1986 to 2010, Black served on various committees, including rules, higher education, telecommunications, transportation and motor vehicles, as well as railroads and broadband infrastructure subcommittees. He received numerous awards for his legislative work.
In addition to his role as a state representative, Black also served as a Vermilion County Board member and chairman. From 2011 to 2014, he was an alderman on the Danville City Council.
Black played a vital role in bringing developments, such as the Golden Nugget Danville Casino, to the area. His contributions to the Danville Area Community College were also significant. In 2014, he was appointed as a trustee on the DACC Board and was later elected in 2015. Black was instrumental in the development of the William B. Black Health Professions Center on campus, which was dedicated in 2012.
The legacy of Bill Black extends beyond his professional achievements. He was known for his passion, colorful personality, and his ability to connect with people. Many elected officials and staff members in Springfield held him in high regard, even after he left office.
Former colleagues and community members remember Black fondly. DACC President Stephen Nacco described him as part of the fabric of the college and someone who brought much-needed funds to improve the campus. State Representative Mike Marron regarded him as a mentor and a true advocate for his district.
Bill Black’s contributions to Danville and Vermilion County will be remembered and he will be deeply missed by all who knew him.