Obituary Details

Mabel Lucille Black

(02/11/1927 - 10/03/2016)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 10/05/2016

Mabel Lucille Black was born February 11, 1927 in Jay Em, WY and passed away October 3, 2016. At 17 her paternal grandfather stowed away on a German ship bound for America. Her parents Elsie Mae (Grooms) Kuskie and August Clyde Kuskie arrived from Valentine, Neb. in 1914 in a stock car of freight train with one cow, a couple horses, and a buggy. Mabel's uncle Frank Grooms met them at Van Tassell with a wagon and team to take them to their farm near Jay Em in Goshen County. Initially, they lived in a 10 x 10 foot building in the middle of open range. The neighbor's bulls would keep them awake at night, rubbing on the house. Their oldest daughter Evelyn was five when they arrived. Glen, Mildred (Chuck Scott), Edna (Frank Meade), Mabel and Betty (Gerald Greenly) completed the family. Mabel once said "tell them we come from sturdy stock."

Mabel attended Scott High School of the Jay Em area and graduated in Torrington with the class of 1944. While going to school there she lived at a boarding house, working for room and board.

In July of 1944 she came to Lusk where she worked at Merit Cleaners until accepting a clerical position at Lusk State Bank. Her sister Betty joined her so that she could attend high school. It was during this time that Mabel met and married Clarence Arthur (better known as Speck) Black on October 17, 1946. They had two daughters, Marlene in the blizzard of 1949 and Shirley, again in a blizzard, in 1952. When the girls were little they lived at the Buck Creek oil field where Speck was employed as a pumper for Continental Oil Company.

The best years of Mabel's life were spent on the Dan Hanson ranch in the Hat Creek community. She loved the ranch and could tell you about any pasture, the water available, past weather conditions or any other info. She had 25 years worth of good stories. Whether it was for the various ranch hands, relatives, or unexpected company, she was known for putting on a feast of homemade and usually home canned meals and always insisting you eat a little bit more! Mabel and Speck retired to Lusk in 1980.

Over the years Mabel did book work for Kant'’s Oil Service in Lance Creek and was a teller at Stockmans bank and later at Lusk State Bank. She enjoyed working with numbers and made many good friends along the way. She and Speck also cleaned the Lusk Senior Center for several years.

In 2000, shortly after the birth of her first great-granddaughter, Mabel was hospitalized for six months. She lay in a back brace, dealing with a staph infection in her back. It ended up that her seventh and eighth vertebra had to be replaced with donor arm bone and the sixth rib broken off to make glue to hold the bolts for the titanium cage in place. Much to the doctors dismay, she was able to make a complete recovery. It was the desire to see Jennifer's girls grow up that kept her fighting. She was so happy to be a part of their lives and able to see them become delightful, strong and accomplished teenagers.

Having grown up painfully shy, it was never in Mabel's nature to travel or join clubs. But if the other person made the first move she was thrilled to have a phone call or visitors. She was truly interested in others and would take great care of you.

Mabel was an accomplished ranch hand and cook. She was an exceptional shot and enjoyed hunting and guiding out of state hunters. She grew great gardens, but her real pride and joy was a beautiful green lawn. Before losing her eyesight she enjoyed crocheting and made and gave away many beautiful quilts. She and Speck also enjoyed sharing their woodworking talents with their granddaughter Jennifer and the neighbor’s son Will. She did not like to read, but spent many hours doing sudoku. Her mind was sharp and her memory exceptional until the end.

Mabel was preceded in death by her grandson Tye Rennard, parents, siblings, all but one of her many in-laws, and many nieces and nephews, including one very special nephew, Jerry Scott. She is survived by her daughters Marlene Dockery (Bill) of Lusk and Shirley Black (Jim Miller) of Laramie, granddaughter Jennifer Kottwitz (Boe) and her great-granddaughters Peyton and Abby Kottwitz. Mabel was always very proud and supportive of her family and will be greatly missed by all.

Services will be Friday, October 7, 2016 at one o'clock at the First Baptist Church in Lusk. Pallbearers will be Danny Hanson, Dan Henry Hanson, Ben Hanson, Russ Crowley, Dick Baker, and Clay Boldon. The entire Hanson family will be honorary pallbearers. Memorials may be made to Niobrara County Ambulance Service or the Rural Fire Department.

Pier Funeral Home is assisting the family.

Images & Attachments

Photo by Debbie Rose

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