Wilma Black went to be with “her” angels Monday, Nov. 11, 2019.
She did it in the same fashion: she lived her 97 years on this planet, with style and grace.
She was where she wanted to be, at home in her recliner, watching her court shows.
Billie was born on Dec. 18, 1921 in Goldfield, Nev. to Charles and Lucy Alvord.
Her siblings were Hazel, Mary, Bess and Henry.
Hazel passed away at 6 years of age.
The family moved around a great deal throughout Southern California, Nevada and Arizona as Charles chased work in what were tough times for most families in pre-World War II America.
Billie’s stories about growing up never lacked for joy and humor in spite of trying circumstances.
While living in Big Bear Lake, Billie met and married Robert Zilz on Dec. 16, 1941.
Their first child, Margaret, was born in 1944, followed by Michael, Leonard and Cathy.
After the war, they moved to Beaumont where Bob began a 45-year career at Highland Springs Resort working for the Rosin family.
In subsequent years, everyone including Billie, all four kids and several cousins had stints of employment at the Resort.
Their marriage ended after 28 years together, but their love, respect and appreciation for one another persisted to the end of both of their days.
Billie went to the job market after the end of their marriage and worked for a short time for Consolidated Foods, the Employment Development Department.
He also enjoyed a career of more than 20 years with the Banning Unified School District as the supervisor of accounting.
She met and married the second love of her life, Clarence Howard Black in December 1977.
Their life was one filled with travel and adventure.
Following retirement and she and Howard amicably ending their marriage, but never their love and friendship, she began worldwide travel.
She visited China, Peru, Europe, Brazil and Africa.
Most trips included siblings, children and grandchildren.
The true loves of her life were her grandchildren.
Stephanie (Alex) and Samuel (Laura), Maggie’s children, spent the majority of their childhood living in Hawaii.
Billie made a point to visit them at least once per year until they came back to the continental United States.
Her memories with them included a railway trip to the Grand Canyon and a hostel-hopping trip to Europe with Steph … quite the experience for both of them.
Michael and Megan, although not blessed with children, gave Billie a great amount of joy (including living with them and their dogs Buddy and Penny, her four-legged grandchildren for a period of time).
Zoë and Zac, Leonard and Anni’s children, followed their dad’s professional career around the United States, which included Hawaii, California, Philadelphia and Washington State.
Billie made a point to travel to each and every location as often as she could.
While in California, because of the close proximity, the visits were far more frequent.
Spencer, Cathy and Umberto’s son, is one of those angels waiting to have Grandma hold him as his time with us was terribly short.
Gabriela, their daughter, had the distinct privilege of Billie being her major caregiver (along with shared duties with Teresa, her Nona) from infancy through the eighth grade.
When her vision was impaired so that she could no longer drive, she had to surrender that responsibility to Umberto and Cathy, but never ceased to continue constant involvement in Gabs’ life.
Her influence, nurturing, character-building and unconditional love for them made a huge impact on the human beings they are today.
It was an extremely important honor for all of them.
Their relationships will be something they will all treasure, each in their own way, as they live their lives. This is truly her legacy to all of us.
Line dancing became a large part of Billie’s life after retirement. She belonged to groups in Hemet, Yucaipa and the Pass area.
She developed a litany of friendships here that she treasured greatly.
In this group was the amazing Glenda.
This incredible woman was not only her friend, but someone who helped Billie maintain an active lifestyle, despite no longer having the ability to drive.
Billie’s family will be eternally grateful to Glenda for everything she did for Mom.
She has also become a friend to all in our family.
Also surviving Billie are her stepchildren, Nancy, Sue and Charlie and their children Andy and Mark.
Her fondness and relationship with Howard’s family continued following his death.
She is also survived by her sister, Mary, and countless nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at Weaver’s Mortuary on Friday, Nov. 22 at 11: a.m. A reception will follow at Guy’s Italian Restaurant, where we would love to have you join us to share memories and stories.
People who wish to honor Billie’s memory, please make donations to the Humane Society of Hawaii.