William Black Obituary (1926 – 2021) – Bakersfield, CA


January 25, 1926 June 13, 2021

Bill was a California native son who was born in Whittier 95 years ago. He grew up in several oil towns until his family settled in Taft in 1936 when he was in 6th grade. During school, he held several jobs, including Standard Stations and Wilson’s Transfer and Storage.

He graduated from Taft Union High School in 1943, which was in the midst of World War II. He attended UCLA but cut it short by enlisting in the US Navy. He achieved a rating of AETM 1C at NAS Alameda, NAS San Diego and aboard the Carrier USS Lexington. After his discharge, he returned to Taft and married Dorothy McPherson of Bakersfield. This union produced 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

Shortly after returning to Taft, he and his brother Glenn Dolder bought Black Taft Plumbing Company. Over the years, Taft Plumbing Company grew, employing many Taft residents. The company continued to grow, moving three times from its original location to its current location on Main Street. The company expanded into commercial plumbing, heating and air conditioning and worked on schools, hospitals and commercial buildings in the Central Valley, Central Coast and Southern California.

Bill, Dolder, and Bob Colston formed a construction partnership to build homes and commercial buildings in Taft, including the West Kern Shopping Center, Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, and hundreds of homes in the Taft area.

After retirement, Dorothy and Bill built new homes in both Taft and Cambria, and traveled extensively around the world until her death. Through a friend, he met Verna, whom he married, and continued his love of travel.

He was active in the community, serving as planning commissioner for the city of Taft, board member of The Westside Cemetery District, member of Taft’s Kiwanis Club for 57 years, member of the Elks and Moose Lodges, 2016 TUHS Hall of Fame inductee and was elected to a Community Service Award from the Taft District Chamber of Commerce. He served twice as the Grand Marshal for the annual Christmas Parade and was a 7+ decade member of the American Legion.

Our husband, father, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather was an honorable and kind man who loved his country and Taft. Most of all, he loved his family! Bill is preceded in death by wife Dorothy, brother Dolder and sister-in-law Jean Black.

He leaves behind his daughter Jennifer and husband Tom Christo, daughter Connie and husband Ralph Hatcher, son Don and wife Sheri Black, grandchildren, Craig Walker and wife Claire, Lynn Ward and husband Bryan, Jeremy Black and wife Sharon, Matthew Black, and Andrew Black , and 9 great-grandchildren. He also leaves his wife Verna, her children Charmaine, Bridgett, Becky and Steve, 5 grandchildren and 1 great-granddaughter.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. at 63 American Legion Fellows Post at 618 Center Street.

Instead of donating flowers, consider donating to the American Legion Fellows Post 63.


Published by Bakersfield Californian on July 21, 2021.

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