In her 60-plus years as a Baylor Bear, beloved alumna and retired professor Sadie Jo Black touched countless lives. Many of those she reached gathered today at Truett Seminary’s Paul W. Powell Chapel for her memorial service, after Black passed away Dec. 5 at the age of 80.
Even more than most Bears, the Baylor family was Sadie Jo’s family, and the Baylor campus was Sadie Jo’s home. She came to Baylor more than 60 years ago from Teague, Texas, and graduated with her bachelor of science degree in home economics in 1950. She returned to Baylor to join the faculty in home economics (now family and consumer sciences) seven years later, where she would remain until her retirement in 1992, impacting the lives of countless students.
“My three years at Baylor coincided with a difficult time in my life,” recalls one of Black’s former students. “I had a number of personal issues during that time and left without graduating. One of the bright spots during that time, however, was Sadie Jo Black. I learned more than clothing construction in her classes. She encouraged me to pursue leadership positions and walked me through how to handle them. She took me to conferences and nurtured me even when I felt like a fish out of water. After I left Baylor, Ms. Black and I kept in touch, and she continued to encourage me to reach for my goals. She even sent me a gift when I finally did graduate from college. Two decades later, as a professional in the Family and Consumer Sciences field, I will always be grateful for the positive influence Ms. Black had on my life.”
In addition to the relationships she built over the years, Black also was very intentional in building a legacy through her thoughtful and creative support to her beloved alma mater, from the beautification of Baylor’s campus (endowing funds to provide for the Clifton Robinson Tower’s foyer décor and the gardens on Founders Mall) to cancer research (creating a scholarship for BU undergraduates engaged in medical research) to student scholarships (financially supporting The President’s Scholarship Initiative and serving on its steering committee). Even in her passing, she asked that, in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to the Sadie Jo Black Endowed Scholarship Fund. Just as Black was quick to respond to President Ken Starr’s call for supporting scholarships, Judge Starr and his wife, Alice, were among the first to respond to Black’s final wishes, donating to the fund in her honor.
Sic ’em, Sadie Jo Black, for your lifetime of service to Baylor and her students!