Donn L. Black died peacefully on March 10, 2019. He was 88.
Donn was born the only child of Ren and Flora Black in Baker City, Oregon. He spent his early years there, as well as his early high school years in Fairbanks, Alaska with his father. Later, returned to Baker City, he was elected Student Body president of the high school class of 1948. He attended Oregon State College where he completed a double major in business and industrial arts, played basketball, and was chosen Student Body president (1951-52). He attended law school at New York University and served in the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), based in Topeka, Kansas and in Dreux, France. He married Arlene Marie Stone in 1954 in Paris France. Donn joined the Oakland law firm of Orr, Heuring & Wendel in 1959 where he worked his near 40-year career. Donn and Arlene settled in the East Bay town of Lafayette, California, where they raised three children. Donn became the first mayor of Lafayette in 1968 when that town incorporated. He remained on the city council for six years.
Donn was a decades-long Rotarian, serving as President of the Oakland Club (1981-82) and joined the St. Helena Rotary. Donn shared Rotary’s values, including, “Service above self.” He and his second wife Antonia (Toni”) Allegra married atop Mt. St. Helena in 1996, and Donn relocated to St. Helena, California where Toni lives. The two were soul mates and inseparable for over a quarter century, traveling, cooking (Donn mostly eating), reciting poetry, performing at the St. Helena Readers’ Theater at the Rianda House Senior Activity Center, and exchanging ideas with others. Donn founded the Franklin Society where gentlemen meet to discuss issues of the day. Donn was proud of his children and grandchildren. He cherished his wife and was a tireless companion in their endeavors and joy.
Donn is survived by his wife, Antonia Allegra; three children, Katherine Black, Jenny Black Zogg, and Alex Black; three step-children, John Griffin, Deanna Michelle Griffin, and Paul Griffin, three grandchildren, Madeline Goldberg Black, Alex Goldberg Black and Ethan Zogg; and three step-grandchildren.
Donn was a charismatic leader, devoted husband, loving father and grandfather and faithful friend. He will be missed.
There will be a small family memorial service. Contributions in memory of Donn may be made to the St. Helena Rotary, P.O. Box 211, St. Helena, CA 94574 (www.sthelenarotary.org); Rianda House Senior Activity Center, 1475 Main St., St. Helena, CA 94574 (www.riandahouse.org); Land Trust of Napa County, 1700 Soscol Avenue, Suite 20, Napa, CA 94559 (www.napalandtrust.org) or to the charity of your choice.