Obituary Details

Clarence "Speck" Arthur Black

(10/16/1921 - 08/12/1997)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 08/20/1997

Clarence Arthur

Funeral services for "Speck" Black, 75, was held August 15, 1997, at the Congregational Church in Lusk with Reverend Mark Lohr officiating. Burial with military graveside honors will follow in the Lusk Cemetery.

Clarence Arthur "Speck" Black died Tuesday morning, August 12, 1997 at the Niobrara Community Hospital in Lusk. He was born October 16, 1921, in a log house on the family homestead north of Lusk, the son of Hugh and Julia Baxter Black; he was the youngest of 12 children. He walked or rode horseback several miles to attend Central Grade School and graduated from Lusk High School in 1939. During his school years, he helped on many area ranches.

In 1938 Speck joined the Wyoming National Guard. He served two and a half years in Iran during WWII and was honorably discharged in September of 1945.

Speck married Mabel Kuskie on October 17, 1946. He worked in the Lance Creek Oil Fields from 1946 until 1955. They then moved to the Dan Hanson ranch north of Lusk where he remained as foreman for 25 years. After "retiring" in Lusk in 1980, he worked several more years in the Lance Creek Oil Fields, as a janitor at the Senior Center and did yard work in Lusk.

He spent many hours in his wood working shop and enjoyed giving his creations to relatives and friends. During his last several years, one of his main sources of joy was time spent in the wood shop with their only granddaughter Jennifer. He was a strong supporter of any family projects. Speck will be remembered most for his kind and gentle manner, his ready smile and sparkling blue eyes.

Speck was preceded in death by his parents; four brothers - Hugh, Bob, John and Charles; four sisters - Mary Woods, Lucille Shrum, Gladys Rumney and Julia Cook; a grandson, Tye Rennard and a very close nephew, Jerry Scott.

Survivors include his wife Mable of Lusk; two daughters - Marlene Rennard and husband Stan of Lusk and Shirley Black and Jim Miller of Laramie; a granddaughter - Jennifer Rennard Kottwitz and husband Boe of Lusk; two sisters - Elizabeth Beck Mosted of Blackduck, Minn., and Geneve Hammell of Casper; one brother Leroy "Bud" Black and wife Elsie of Sheridan.

For those who wish to do so, make memorials to the Niobrara Senior Center or the Lusk EMT's will be appreciated by the family.

Bader Funeral Home of Lusk is in charge of arrangements.

The Lusk Herald
September 30, 1992
Officially retired but too busy to slow down

by Dee Huls

For most of Clarence Black's life, there haven't been enough hours in the day. And since he officially "retired" in 1980, he still finds himself too busy to slow down.

Black, or "Speck," as most of his friends know him, now spends eight to 10 hours a week handling the custodial duties at the Niobrara County Senior Center in Lusk. He also handles some of the yard and landscaping duties for several homes around town, and has his hobbies.

Summers, he can still be found working for the Hanson Ranch. That is somewhat unusual, in that he retired from the ranch in 1980.

Black was born in northern Niobrara County. At that time, there were a large number of residents in the area, from the Black and Gibbs families. A school, which was to be known as "Central School," was built between the two ranches, and Black was educated there.

For most of his life, Black has been a Niobrara County resident. He was gone for six years, while he spent time in the U.S. Army from 1939 to 1945, but returned to Niobrara County when he was discharged.

During his military tour of duty, Black says he spent 2 1/2 years in Iran, but says he doesn't miss the desert atmosphere. "I didn't leave anything over there that I wanted to go back for," he laughs.

In 1946, he married his wife Mabel. That union has produced two daughters and one granddaughter.

Mabel stays busy with her needlework. Black says that "includes her crocheting and such."

He stays busy with his hobbies. He uses old barn wood and creates his unique clock designs. Black also has his other woodworking hobbies to help keep him busy.

He picked up the nickname "Speck" early in life. "When I was a lot younger, I had fair skin and red hair, and that's where I got the name 'Speck'."

Black says he had an abundance of freckles for most of his life ("until I was about 30.")

"Speck" says he feels very strongly about remaining active, even in retirement.

"I think it's important to be active," he said. "I pretty much have a fulltime schedule right now."

Black says he doesn't care to travel, and says he enjoys Niobrara County. "I'm satisfied here," he says. "I could live other places probably just as well, but I hate the traveling part of it."

Black said he also enjoyed his 26 years on the Hanson Ranch, prior to his retirement. "That's one of the reasons I keep going back every summer," he said.

"I enjoyed my years on the ranch," he added. "When I retired, they tried to get me to stay on, but the winters were just too rough for me."

Black and Dan Hanson, who now operates the ranch with his wife, Donna, "used to come up to the ranch during the summers," while he (Black) was acting as ranch foreman.

"He was a good kid," Black said, "He was really pretty sharp, and he learned quickly." Black said Hanson's parents lived at their other ranch at Kaycee at the time.

During the 26 years of his life at the Hanson Ranch north of Lusk, Black ran the ranch for the Hanson family from 1954 to 1980, when he retired. Black will be 71 this October.

Even though retirement has come and gone, Black continues to work summers for the Hansons, which current owners Donna and Dan Hanson appreciate.

"'Speck' is just one of the best guys you could have working for you," Hanson said last week. "You couldn't ask for a better guy."

Hanson admitted that Black "taught me to do an awful lot of things."

While working summers now for the Hanson Ranch, Black makes sure the water is available to the cattle, and "takes care of the cattle on top of the divide north of Lusk," according to Hanson.

"Another thing I like about 'Speck' is the fact that he's always cheerful," Hanson added. "You just never see him without a smile on his face."

Images & Attachments

Clarence in 1992
Photo/Debbie Rose

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