Willard & Celia Black Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

If all goes as planned at the time of the writing of this book, Willard E. Black and Celia McCollister Black will celebrate their forty-fifth wedding anniversary on July 27, 1981. They were sweethearts in Central City High School.

Willard, the son of Earl and Bertha Peregrine Black, was born on a farm near Fullerton, Nebraska, and moved with his parents to Merrick County in 1917 when he was one year old. Celia, the daughter of Milton and Alta Frink McCollister, was born on a farm near Goehner, Nebraska, and moved with her family to Central City when she was a year old, in 1920.

Willard and Celia have lived the greatest part of their married life on a farm north of Central City. Willard and his brother Merlin formed a farming partnership after World War II, and are still in business together in 1981.

Willard and Celia are the parents of a son, Dale, and two daughters, Linda and Jolene.

Dale married Donna Harris of Ogallala, Nebraska, and they are the parents of three daughters: Deidre, Danelle, and Devra. Dale received his Doctorate in Education from the University of Northern Colorado. He was a professor of Forensics at Hastings College at the time of his death on November 4, 1979. Donna teaches children with learning disabilities in the Hastings school system. Danelle was named Miss National Teenager in 1980-81.

Linda married Dick Monson of Central City. They live in Loveland, Colorado with their son Jeff and daughter Megan. Dick owns his hair styling and barber business in Loveland.

Jolene married Robert Vokoun of Pleasanton, Nebraska. They have two sons, Scott and Chad. Robert teaches Distributive Education in Grand Island Senior High, and Jolene is employed at First National Bank.

Willard and Celia have been lifelong members of the Methodist Church.

Since 1943 they have belonged to the Fairview United Methodist Church where they and their children have taken part in regular attendance and all other church activities.

Willard’s hobbies are “grandfathering”, bowling, golfing, and planning travels for his retirement years.

Celia’s hobbies are reading and writing. She wrote a column titled “Black Bored” for the Central City paper for a number of years. She gives programs and book reviews for church and club groups.

The Blacks have belonged to a six-couple Pinochle group for over twenty-five years.

They plan in the near future to retire to Central City and enjoy being a part of their hometown, do some traveling, and spend time with their family.

Submitted by Willard and Celia Black


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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