~ IN MEMORY ~
Eris ‘Bea’ Black, widow of WAL Capt. Eugene ‘Gene’ Black
Dec. 11, 1922 ~ Feb. 4, 2019
Notification with the passing of former Western Airlines stewardess Eris ‘Bea’ Brady Black, age 96. Bea was widowed in 2010 with the passing of her husband Western Captain Eugene ‘Gene’ Black. Bea’s interesting life story appears below along with Gene’s obituary.
To view Bea’s obituary online please visit
Arrangements entrusted to Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service: www.dokkennelson.com
~ Carol for the PCN
Obituary....................Eris "Bea" Black, 96, our sweet, loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, passed away peacefully early Monday morning, February 4, 2019, in Bozeman, MT.
She was born on December 11, 1922 in Sandy, UT, to Silas Lindsay and Mary Zilpha (Bateman) Brady. She was the youngest of five children, with one brother and three sisters.
Bea spent her childhood and school years in Salt Lake City, UT, graduating from East High School, attending one year of business college and becoming a comptometer operator.
Starting in her teen years, her family spent summers in their cabins in West Yellowstone, MT. She cherished this yearly tradition, spending time with family and friends for most of her life. In 1944, she became a stewardess for Western Airlines based out of Cheyenne, WY. After two years she was transferred to Denver, CO as the Chief Stewardess where she met and fell in love with a handsome co-pilot, Gene Black. They married in 1947, had two daughters, and lived in Denver until Gene was transferred to Los Angeles, CA in 1957. They lived in Corona del Mar, CA, still spending summers in West Yellowstone. During the '70s, she and Gene lived part-time in Honolulu, HI where he was then based. In 1982 they bought a home in Bozeman and split their time between Montana and California. They joined Riverside Country Club in Bozeman, made many wonderful friends, and enjoyed playing lots of golf.
Bea was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) which gave her peace and comfort. She was very active in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and spent years as a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader. She was an avid Bridge player and enjoyed bowling, tennis, gardening, traveling, big band and swing era music, and especially loved to dance. She was a bit of a social butterfly and would liven up any gathering.
Her family and friends, and even acquaintances, meant the world to her. She was admired and treasured by all of them. They would often say that she was gracious, caring, kind, always positive, classy, fun and non-judgmental. They enjoyed her humor; she made everyone feel good. People feel lucky to have known her, as she brightened their lives.
Bea is survived by her daughters, Bonnie (Phil) Maurer of Wilsall, MT and Vickie (Larry) Minkoff of Bozeman; four grandchildren, Billy (Marcia) Leach of Bozeman, Alisha (Shahin) Etebar of Palm Springs, CA, and Ryan and Evan Minkoff of Bozeman; and one great-grandchild, Gabriella Grace Leach of Bozeman.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Gene; parents, Silas and Mary; brother, Lynn Brady; sisters, Grace Allen, Hazel Kevitch, and Mary Dent Stam; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends.
Bea lived a long and blessed life, often admitting, with a smile and "that twinkle in her eyes", to being a tad spoiled.
We have lost a very special lady who will be missed by many.
The family would like to thank the staff at Springmeadows, Hospice of Bozeman Health, First Choice Home Care, and especially Alice Bergenheier, her dear friend and caregiver.
A celebration of Bea's life will be planned at a later date.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. www.dokkennelson.com
USAF veteran, WAL Capt. EUGENE ‘GENE’ BLACK, 1923-2010
Eugene "Gene" Black, 87, a loving and loyal son, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010, in Bozeman.
He was born on April 1, 1923, at the Beer Mug Ranch in Difficulty, Wyo., to William and Hertha (Wendelburg) Black. He spent his childhood and school years in Blackwell, Okla.
During his first semester of college at Oklahoma A&M, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became a pilot. During World War II, he was an instructor on the Douglas A26 Invader. In 1945, he was hired to fly for Western Airlines, which merged with Delta Airlines in 1987. Capt. Black retired in 1988 after 42 years as a highly respected commercial airline pilot.
During his first year with Western Airlines, he met a lovely stewardess, Eris Bea Brady, who became his wife of almost 63 years. After the birth of their two daughters in Denver, Colo., he was recalled by the Air Force for the Korean War and flew 52 missions as a squadron commander on the Martin B26 Marauder Bomber receiving multiple honors and medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war and during the rest of his piloting career, he lived with his family in Denver, Corona del Mar, Calif., Honolulu, and Bozeman; spending many summers in West Yellowstone.
Gene was a country boy and outdoorsman at heart. He was an Eagle Scout. He loved farming and ranching, fishing, bird hunting, gardening, golfing, skiing, and glider flying. He enjoyed playing bridge and poker, racquetball and tennis. He was a great all-around handyman and mechanic, and especially took pleasure and pride in his yard work. He loved his wife and family, friends and faithful dogs.
Gene was a member of Kiwanis, Riverside Country Club since 1982, and belonged to the Elks Club for 34 years. He shared his love for flying and worldwide travel with his family and close friends. Gene was a true gentleman, respected and loved for his honesty, kindness, generosity, helpfulness, sense of humor and strength of character. He will be remembered and missed by many.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by his wife, Bea of Bozeman; daughters, Bonnie (Phil) Maurer of Wilsall, Vickie (Larry) Minkoff of Bozeman; grandchildren, Bill (Marcia) Leach of Bozeman, Alisha (John) Boston of LaQuinta, Calif., and Ryan and Evan Minkoff of Bozeman.
Special thanks to the staff at Cottonwood Case Management, Hospice of Southwest Montana, Highgate, and Spring Creek Memory Care.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel. A celebration of Gene's life will follow the services.