Search the Archive:

August 10, 2005

Back to the Table of Contents Page

Back to The Almanac Home Page


Publication Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Obituary: Charles Black, marine expert, dies Obituary: Charles Black, marine expert, dies (August 10, 2005)

Charles Alden Black of Woodside, an internationally recognized marine expert and the husband of former child star Shirley Temple Black, died August 4 of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disease. He was 86 and had suffered from the disease for nearly three years.

Born in Oakland, he lived most of his early years in San Francisco, then was educated at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and earned his bachelor degree in three years at Stanford University, where he was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

He completed one year of study at Harvard School of Business before joining the U.S. Navy in 1941. After the war, he finished his master's degree in business at Stanford Business School, earning membership in Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.

During World War II, he served as a naval intelligence officer in the southwest Pacific, first in Australia on Gen. Douglas MacArthur's staff, then with the 7th Fleet squadrons of motor torpedo boats. He was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.

During the Korean War, he was recalled to serve in naval intelligence in Washington, D.C., returning to the reserves in 1952 with the rank of commander.

Mr. Black had a lifelong love of the sea and twice crewed in the TransPacific Race from the Golden Gate to the finish line off Diamond Head.

He was an avid surfer in Hawaii after World War II, making his own board from kapok and mahogany, and worked for Castle & Cooke and Dole Hawaiian Pineapple.

In 1950 he met Shirley Temple when she was vacationing in Honolulu. A party was being given in her honor and Mr. Black, a handsome young bachelor, was invited.

He surfed every night after work and told the hostess he wouldn't come to the party if the surf was up. "We would never have met if the surfing was good that day," says Ms. Black. The couple was married later that year at his parents' Monterey ranch.

Mr. Black spent most of his professional life in marine/freshwater development and aquaculture engineering. He co-founded a marine hatchery for oysters and abalone at Pigeon Point in the early 1960s.

In 1966 he founded Mardela Corp., a fishing and hatchery company, and remained president and CEO until his death.

He was a maritime adviser to the Sultanate of Oman. He also co-founded the Marquest Group in Massachusetts, which developed unmanned deep-ocean search and survey imaging systems used in the discovery of the SS Titanic.

He served on a U.S. Commerce Department's advisory committee and on various National Research Council panels.

Mr. Black was a regent of the University of Santa Clara, and was a trustee and regent of the College of Notre Dame.

He was an active member of the Bohemian Club, and also belonged to the Pacific Union Club and the Menlo Country Club. He was one of the six co-founders of the Guardsmen, a San Francisco charity.

Mrs. Black, the most popular child star of all time, started her acting career at age 3 and starred in such hits as "Stand Up and Cheer" and "The Little Colonel." She and Mr. Black lived in Atherton and Woodside most of their married life.

Mr. Black is survived by his wife of 55 years, Shirley Temple Black; a son, Charles Jr.; daughters Lori and Susan; granddaughter Teresa; and brother Jim Black.

At his request, no memorial service is planned.

E-mail a friend a link to this story.

Copyright © 2005 Embarcadero Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or online links to anything other than the home page
without permission is strictly prohibited.