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Mourners say farewell to Stephen Black

Joyce Black accepts flag from a Marine at a graveside service for Stephen M. Black. Joyce Black accepts flag from a Marine at a graveside service for Stephen M. Black.

People want to label everyone, said the Rev. Steve Jones.

"Does anyone want to try to label Stephen Black?" he said. No one volunteered to try.
More than 90 mourners gathered at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Wednesday morning to bid farewell to Black, the longtime Times-News columnist who died Friday at age 68 after complications from surgery.
Black viewed his Saturday morning Times-News column, "On Borrowed Time," as a way to give voice to voiceless, defend the defenseless and right wrongs, Jones said. One of Black's favorite Bible verses, Ephesians 6:12, illustrated how he felt about the fight, the minister said: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Black's view of the world was shaped by his high opinion of dogs and the way they accept and love people without judgment. One of his best friends was an abandoned dog he had adopted from Green River, who came to be known as Scout, Scooter or the Duchess. He lost Scooter five years ago after having her for 14 years, and had mourned her every day since, his wife said. He had gotten a new dog, Tater Bug. Black often wrote about the need to adopt homeless dogs and nothing enraged him more than cruelty to animals.
In his house Black had tacked up a quote that well stated how people might aspire to the heart of a dog.

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them and every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog. And I will become as generous and loving as they are."
The Henderson County Honor Guard presented military honors. Two Marines lifted the American flag from the coffin and folded it in triangle shape. A Marine presented the flag to Joyce Black, Stephen's widow, who sat between his daughter, Sarah, and his son, David.