Edith Black died on June 30, 2019 in her home in Lawrence. Born in Lawrence on Bastille Day 1928, Edith was the daughter of William Edwin Elam and Edith Mae Tobler. She graduated from Lawrence Liberty Memorial High School (1946), the University of Kansas (1950) and earned a Masters in Public Administration from KU (1974).
She began her working life in high school, working at the family business, Independent Laundry. Edith worked at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare from 1970-1995, served on KU’s first Affirmative Action Board (’72-75), making recommendations for policies in response to the new Title IX legislation for women and was on the Lawrence Memorial Hospital board (’74-’81). Edith participated with her husband John Poertner in the Kansas Paraguay Partners and lived in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991-92. Edith loved travel, art, music, good food, reading, and spending time with family. But Edith would say “enough about me.”
Edith is survived by John Poertner, four children from her marriage to James W. Black, Randy (Pam) Black of Denver, CO; Chris Black of Budapest, Hungary; Beth (Gail) Black of Albuquerque, NM; and Steve (Carolyn) Black of Colorado Springs, CO, Raun (Rick) Brobeck of Valparaiso, IN; grandchildren Sarah Krump, Travis Black, and Travis Miller, and two great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents and sister Barbara Leibengood O’Toole.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Spencer Museum of Art.