WHOI  WHOI People  

In Memoriam: Charles A. Black

Charles A. Black

Media Relations Office

media@whoi.edu

August 10, 2005

(508) 289-3340

The Institution has received word of the death August 4, 2005 of Honorary Member of the Corporation Charles A. Black at his home in Woodside, CA of complications from a bone narrow disease. He was 86.

Charles "Charlie" Black was elected a Member of the Corporation in 1977 and an Honorary Member in 1989, served on the Development Committee, and was a member of the Associates. 

Charles Alden Black was born March 6, 1919 in Oakland, California, a descendant of John Alden of the Mayflower and the Cherokee Indian chief Oconostota. He was raised in San Francisco, attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and received bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Stanford University. He also attended Harvard University. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1941 as an intelligence officer in the Pacific, making more than 100 PT boat patrols and serving as a scout behind enemy lines in Indonesia, earning the Silver Star and other honors for valor.

After the war, he moved to Tahiti and eventually sailed a small boat back to the United States. He was working in Hawaii for a shipping company in 1950 when he met former child star Shirley Temple, who was vacationing there, at a party. The couple married that same year.

During the 1950s, after returning to the Navy during the Korean War as an intelligence officer, Charles Black worked as an executive at Stanford Research International and the AMPEX Corporation but soon began focusing his interests in aquaculture. He loved the sea, and his long business career was focused on maritime ventures.  He was a pioneer in marine and freshwater aquaculture, starting a fishing and hatchery company for oysters and abalone in California in the early 1960s and working as a consultant in maritime issues. He was the founder and president of Mardela Corporation and founder of Pacific Mariculture, Inc. He had extensive experience in marine resource assessment and related onshore infrastructure, in marine territorial boundaries, and in operating both commercial and research fishing vessels.   He also served as chairman of the Marquest Group, Inc., which was founded by WHOI scientist Robert Ballard and others after the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic in 1985.

Active beyond the business community, Charles Black served as a delegate to the United Nations Law of the Sea negotiations and the United Nations International Maritime Consultative Organizations. He also served on many advisory committees, including the Ocean and Atmosphere Management Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee, the National Advisory Commission on Oceans and Atmosphere, the Committee on Alternative Uses of Naval Technology and the Committee on Fisheries of the Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council. He was a trustee of the University of Santa Clara and a member of the board of the College of Notre Dame.

Charles Black is survived by his wife, Shirley Temple Black, of Woodside, CA; a brother, James Black, Jr. of San Mateo, CA; a son, Charles Black, Jr. of San Francisco, CA; two daughters, Lori Black of San Francisco and Susan Falaschi of Menlo Park, CA; and a granddaughter, Teresa Falaschi of Menlo Park, CA.

At his request there will be no service.

Originally published: August 10, 2005