Marvin M. Black, age 97, of Habersham County, Georgia passed away January 14, 2022, of natural causes. He lived a full and accomplished life and will be missed by all who knew him.
Mr. Black was born on August 2, 1924, in Atlanta, Georgia to Joseph J. Black and Mazie Mae Black (the former Mazie Allison of White County, Georgia). Marvin was the third of seven sons.
Mr. Black graduated from Atlanta’s Tech High School in 1942, and later that year was accepted into the Navy’s flight training program. He later obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia State University in 1958.
In 1944, during advanced flight training for combat in World War II, Lt. Marvin Black met the love of his life, Joeanne Rothwell, of Los Angeles, California, at a USO Club dance in El Centro, California. They were later married in nearby Yuma, Arizona, prior to Marvin’s deployment to the South Pacific as a Marine Corps fighter pilot. Joeanne and Marvin were married for 75 years before her passing in 2019. In 1945-46, Joeanne and her baby son would await Marvin’s return from the war while living with his parents in Atlanta. Marvin’s younger brothers referred to Joeanne as “Miss Hollywood” because she was so pretty! Marvin and Joeanne would go on to have four children: Michael, Laurel, Stephen, and Jennifer; nine grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Son Stephen, a Vietnam Marine veteran, passed away in 2010.
During the war, Marvin was assigned to Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-115, part of Marine Aircraft Group12. In January 1945, he flew the illustrious Corsair in support of MacArthur’s retaking of the Philippine Islands. He flew 84 combat missions during World War II. His wartime decorations for valor and heroic achievement against the enemy included 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 9 Air Medals, a Presidential Unit Citation, a Navy Commendation Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with bronze star.
At the close of World War II, Marvin’s squadron, as part of the 1st Marine Air Wing, was sent directly to China to aid in the surrender of the Japanese, and to support Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Government in their efforts against the Chinese Communists. Marvin flew 25 missions while serving in China. He was ordered to return to the United States in February 1946, after serving 15 months away at war.
In 1950, Marvin was recalled to active duty upon the outbreak of the Korean War and served another 25 months in active service. He then returned once again to civilian life, and the Marine Corps Ready Reserve at NAS Atlanta. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel in 1961 and became commanding officer of Marine Reserve Squadron VMF-351, serving as CO until June 1965, when he was promoted to full Colonel. He was then relieved from his ready reserve flight status, and later the Reserve Forces in 1971; having served his country for 29 years in the armed forces. He officially retired from the Marine Corps in 1984. Marvin obtained his first civilian aircraft in 1965 and continued with his love of flying outside the military until 1989 at the age of 64.
After his war service, Marvin joined his father’s Atlanta based construction company, J.J. Black & Company. Upon his father’s retirement in 1964, Marvin started Marvin M. Black Company. Over time, sons Michael and Stephen came into the business with their father. Marvin stressed to his sons not to ever burn any bridges, and not to write and send letters or emails in anger. Honesty and integrity were his watch words, and to “do what you say you will do”. The Georgia company grew and expanded over the years, building projects such as the Sanford Stadium Addition at the University of Georgia in Athens, a major addition to the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, an 800-inmate medium security prison, the Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth, Georgia, the HQ/Admin and Command Center for the U.S. Navy at the Trident Submarine Base at Kings Bay, the 40-story Park Place Residential Center in Buckhead, and modifications to the ancient Baltimore City Jail for the State of Maryland.
Over its history, the Georgia based company’s operations extended from Texas, into the neighboring states of Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina, and up into Maryland and Ohio. Besides general contracting, Marvin also developed real estate.
In 1973, the company constructed its first wooden roller coaster ride, the “Great American Scream Machine” for Six Flags. This unique building experience ultimately led the company into the international construction market, with its affiliate, Roller Coaster Corporation of America (RCCA). The company designed, manufactured, and constructed wooden amusement and theme park rides in Japan, Brazil, Spain, and Germany. RCCA designed, manufactured and constructed one of the largest and highest wooden structures in the world for Paramount in 2000, at 218 feet high!
Marvin, following in his father’s footsteps, was elected as president of the Georgia Branch, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in 1973. Continuing in the service to his industry, he was elected president of the national association in 1991.
In 1992, Marvin and Joeanne retired to their mountain home of 30 years in Habersham County, Georgia, where Marvin raised cattle for several years. During these years, Marvin enjoyed reading and sitting on his front porch, overlooking his green pastures and the picturesque North Georgia mountains. He enjoyed having a scotch and an occasional cigar with family and friends. Marvin also enjoyed boating on nearby Lake Chatuge, riding around his property in his Gator, and trout fishing on the Soque River.
Four days before he died, he watched the Georgia-Alabama National Championship game with his son and exclaimed “33—18!” several times when Georgia won.
A Celebration of his long and meaningful life will be held on Sunday, January 30, 2022. The Family will receive friends prior to the service at 2pm. The service begins at 3pm in the chapel of Cleveland Funeral Home: address 2721 Hwy 129 S, Cleveland, Georgia 30328. A reception will follow the service.
In the event of inclement weather, the service will be scheduled for the following Sunday.
In lieu of flowers the family would like to memorialize Marvin’s lifelong dedication to his country. Anyone who would like to make a donation in his honor, please give to Wounded Warrior Project at www.woundedwarriorproject.org
To leave an online condolence, view the memorial video, and additional service updates, please visit www.cleveland-funeralhome.com
Arrangements by the professional staff of Cleveland Funeral Home 2721 Hwy 129 S Cleveland GA, 30528. 706-865-1500
Wounded Warrior Project
7020 A.C. Skinner Parkway, Suite 100, Jacksonville FL 32256