School 13

John C. Black

October 29, 1940 ~ May 6, 2022 (age 81)


John Cassius Black, 81 years old, passed from this earth on May 6, 2022, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes.  John was a rich character with a gentle spirit and a generous heart.  He was full of humorous stories, local folklore and family tales. He was known as Brother John, Johnny Cash, Black John, Uncle John, Mr. Black and JC.  John was born in Vincennes on October 29, 1940, the first child of Sheldon and Georgia (Bennett) Black.

A lifelong educator, John loved teaching English, constantly pursuing his love of language while teaching his family new vocabulary words and encouraging us to think critically.  A graduate of Monroe City High School in 1959, he attended Vincennes University’s Associate degree teacher program. At the age of 20, in 1961, John moved from Monroe City to Chicago Heights to begin his teaching career.   He completed his education while working full time and graduated from Indiana University with undergraduate and graduate degrees.  He also taught education courses in a community college in Chicago and became a principal before he was 30 years old.  

Pursuing a doctorate in Linguistics, John studied urban and rural language patterns of children, moving to Appalachia to work with school children in Harlan County, Kentucky.  He also taught in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Lexington, Kentucky, before returning to his roots in Knox County.   John spent his last 30 years at Pike Central Middle-High School teaching English and was a legend among his students.   He especially enjoyed teaching Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain” and we know John will ‘rise up to hear the bells’ on his new journey and his renewed life in heaven.

John was a civil rights activist, a champion for the disenfranchised, and was an environmentalist before it was a cliche.  A proficient pianist who played hymns for his mother, he could play any song he had heard once. He was happiest when canoeing, hiking, riding horses, and amongst his people telling stories and reflecting on life. To know John was to love him.

John was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church and supported the United Negro College Fund and Save the Children programs. He was a member of the ISTA, NEA, and Sons of the American Revolution.

Survivors include his siblings, Marlis (DJ) Day, Steve (Och Jong) Black, and Becky (Brent) Stuckey and his nieces and nephews:  Stephanie Day-Keller (Joe) and Travis Day (Theresa);  Andrew Black;  Zach Stuckey (Annie), Katie Taylor (Paul), and Maggie Corbett (Patrick)  and 12 great nieces and nephews.

Memorial services will be provided by Harris Funeral Home in Petersburg.  Visitation will be 4-8pm on Thursday, May 12 and the funeral will be at 10:00am Friday, May 13.  Burial at Mt. Zion Cemetery will immediately follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Blue Jeans Center.

Online condolences may be made at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John C. Black, please visit our floral store.


May 12, 2022

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Harris Funeral Home
705 E Walnut St.
Petersburg, IN 47567

Funeral Service
May 13, 2022

10:00 AM
Harris Funeral Home
705 E Walnut St.
Petersburg, IN 47567

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