Leila “Lee” Margaret Black, 90, of Camillus, passed away Wednesday. For five years she was the only child of Helen and Clifford Millard, until her little brother Charles came along and then 10 years later, another little brother, Edward, would join the family. Yes, Lee was the eldest and caretaker of her brothers. A lifetime resident of the Syracuse area, she was a graduate of Onondaga Valley Academy. She met the love of her life, Ronald Black, while working at a soda shop on the south side of Syracuse. The two immediately hit it off and were married a couple years later in 1951. Four years into their marriage Lee was challenged with a life-changing twist of fate as Ron contracted polio and spent a year living in an iron-lung downstate, and Lee was only able to see him on weekends. But love prevailed and with their faith in God and help from their parents, they were able to purchase a lot in Camillus and together built a home, one which could accommodate a wheelchair. Ron even built an elevator so he could get to the basement.
Lee was employed by Aerofin Corp. for several years as a secretary and then made a career change, becoming a driver’s ed instructor. As a little girl, she dreamed of having four children but for seventeen years the couple was childless. Then God blessed them with a daughter, Lisa Margaret. Lee would say “I wanted four children, but God gave me the perfect child.” The couple vacationed during the spring for a month every year in Florida ,before Lisa was born up until the mid-80’s, creating many happy memories for the family.
Lee instilled her love of music in her daughter, supporting and nurturing Lisa’s musical talents, shaping the talented woman Lisa would grow into, and being so very proud of her “Kid”!
Lee was a deaconess and member of Trinity Baptist Church. She was also a member of the Katz Meow, Syracuse’s own Women’s Barbershop Chorus, where she sang lead under her daughter’s direction. She loved her furry babies as well, puppies: Cheri, Kaley, Zoey, and Zeke, and pussycats: Lovey and Sebastian.
Lee was predeceased by her loving husband of 48 years who journeyed to heaven in 1999.
Surviving are her daughter, Lisa (Peter) Carentz of Liverpool; grandson, Matthew Welch of Syracuse; brothers, Charles (Marilyn) Millard of Poughkeepsie, and Edward (Darlene) Millard of Greene; and several nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends may call Thursday, May 25 from 11 a.m.to 1 p.m. at the Buranich Funeral Home, 5431 W. Genesee St., Camillus. A funeral service will immediately follow in the funeral home.
Lee will be laid to rest in White Chapel Memory Gardens, DeWitt.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The St. Patrick’s Hunger Project, here.