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The Dillon Herald
March 1, 2013

Susanne Geist Black, MD

JEFFERSON, NC–Services for Susanne Geist Black, MD formerly of 509 E. Roosevelt St., Dillon, SC and more recently of Jefferson, NC, have been scheduled. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 3, 2013, at Jefferson United Methodist Church in Jefferson, NC. Music will begin at 2 p.m. Visitation will follow the service at the church. Graveside services will be held Monday, March 4, 2013, at 3 p.m. at Greenlawn Cemetery in Dillon, SC. Viewing and visitation with the family will be prior to these graveside services from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013, in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church, Dillon, SC.

Dr. Black died on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Jefferson, NC. She was born on July 8, 1919 in St. Paul, MN, daughter of the late John M. Geist and the late Susanne Williams Geist of St. Paul. She was the wife of the late Swift C. Black, MD of Dillon.

Dr. Black earned her Bachelor of Medicine and Doctor of Medicine degrees at the University of Minnesota, serving an internship at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL. She completed her Master’s in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She became Board Certified in Family Medicine and in Public Health, having achieved Diplomate status in both specialties.

Dr. Black was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Dr. Swift Black. Together they established a family practice partnership in Dillon, SC in 1946. In 1970, she became District Medical Director for the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control of the Pee Dee Health District until her retirement in 1983.

Dr. Black served in numerous professional activities including president of the SC Medical Association Alliance and president of the SC Public Health Physicians. She was chosen for many years as delegate from Dillon County to the South Carolina Medical Association House of Delegates. She was a member of the American Medical Association and received the Certificate of Merit from this organization for 50 years of dedicated service to the medical profession. Life membership in the American Academy of Family Physicians was conferred upon her for 50 years of active support of this organization. She served on the Governing Boards of many organizations, including the SC Public Health Association, Southeastern Council on Nurse Midwifery, Pee Dee Health Systems Agency, SC State Employees Association, and the Florence-Darlington Technical College Nursing School. She also served for years on the Board of Review for the National League of Nursing in New York.

She was appointed by Governor Carroll Campbell as State Commissioner of the SC Commission on Aging, representing the Sixth Congressional District. She was an Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the Medical University of SC. Additionally, she served on the Advisory Committees of the SC Child Protection Association, the SC Alzheimer’s Association, the Pee Dee Area Health Education Center, and St. Eugene Hospital of Dillon. Locally, she served as president of the Dillon County Medical Society and its Medical Auxiliary, the Dillon Interagency Council, Dillon County Health Council, and the Dillon County Tuberculosis Society.

The prestigious award for “Outstanding Community Service by a Physician” in South Carolina was presented to Dr. Black in 1989 by the SC Medical Association on behalf of the A. H. Robins Pharmaceutical Company.

She authored scientific articles including “Tuberculosis Among Medical Students” in the Journal of the American Medical Association and “Abortion: Dimension of Public Health?” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She presented her paper on “Male Family Planning: An Innovative Approach” at the national meeting of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Black received a scholarship award from the World Health Organization for an original research study on health care in Europe; she was able to study health programs extensively in five European countries.

She was chosen as SC “Career Woman of the Year” by the SC Federation of Business and Professional Women and was honored by a resolution of the South Carolina Legislature paying tribute to her for her contributions to her adopted state. She was honored as “State Employee of the Year” by the SC Employees’ Association, Pee Dee. The Dillon Chamber of Commerce awarded her and her husband the “Co-Citizen of the Year” award.

Dr. Black’s interest in her community covered many fields other than medicine. She received a 25-year pin for her work in Girl Scouting, having initiated the Girl Scout program in Dillon with the formation of troops over 50 years ago. She served as camp counselor, troop leader, and member of the Board of Directors of the Pee Dee. She established a meeting place for the Girl Scout troops of Dillon, spearheading the effort to locate and furnish a building to serve as the Dillon Girl Scout Hut. She headed the Board of Trustees for extensive property bequeathed to the Boy and Girl Scouts of Dillon. She initiated the formation of the Candy Striper program at St. Eugene Hospital. She was a charter member of the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Dillon Junior Charity League, and the MacArthur Avenue Theatre Board. She served as secretary of the SC Federation of Women’s Clubs. She founded the Red Cross Blood Bank in Dillon County. She was a member of the First Baptist Church of Dillon and served as a Sunday school teacher, superintendent of the Young People’s Department, and a member of the church choir for over 30 years. In Jefferson, she was a member of the Jefferson United Methodist Church.

She served as president of two federated study clubs, the Etudier Club of Dillon and the Avon Study Club. She initiated the formation of the Dillon County Historical Society and served as president. She rescued the original home of James W. Dillon from a destruction crew and led the effort of the Historical Society to purchase and refurbish the building as a museum. She was a member and officer of the Rose Garden Club and served as Worthy Matron and Grand Martha of the Eastern Star. She taught reading in the tutorial program of the SC Literacy Commission and was co-founder with her husband of the Dillon Swimming Pool project of the Civic Club Community Center.

Dr. Black’s hobbies included genealogy, literature, rare books, antiques, and classical music. She was an amateur naturalist, clothes designer, poet, and author. She was an avid sports enthusiast having taught swimming and lifesaving, as well as competing in state level ice skating and tennis tournaments in her youth.

She was just as involved in her adopted community of Jefferson, NC, where she relocated in 2001. She joined the Blue Ridge University Study Club, the Ashe County Arts Council, Friends of the Ashe County Library, and the Jefferson United Methodist Women. She initiated the New River Book Club as well as the Christmas Tree Chapter of the Red Hat Society. For over ten years, she took a class each semester “just for fun” at the local community college.

Considering her accomplishments and accolades, she herself believed her roles as wife, mother, and grandmother the most important careers of her life.

Surviving are her four children, Swift C. Black, Jr. of West Jefferson, NC; John G. Black, MD (Anne Ellis Black) of Lexington, SC; Susanne E. Black, PhD, of West Jefferson, NC; and MaryAnne Black Moore (Donald Ray Moore) of Jefferson, NC. Her three grandsons are Jonathan Dillard Black of Lexington, SC, Anderson Lee Moore, and Stanton Cooper Moore, both of Jefferson, NC. She is also survived by her brother, Robert Williams Geist, MD (Rosemary), and her sister, Marie A. Geist, both of St. Paul, MN. She was predeceased by her husband and her brother, John Williams Geist of Northfield, MN. Another survivor includes her sister-in-love, Merial Black Holland of Winston-Salem, NC; special nieces and nephews also survive.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made for the Swift C. Black and Susanne G. Black Scholarship Fund payable to the SCMA Foundation, PO Box 11188, Columbia, SC 29211. This scholarship was established for deserving medical students from the Pee Dee area.

Arrangements are being coordinated by Badger Funeral Home in West Jefferson, NC and Kannaday’s Funeral Home in Dillon, SC.


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