BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The funeral was held Friday for beloved WAFB star and community leader, William "Bill" Black, also known as "Buckskin Bill."
Buckskin Bill passed away on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at the age of 88.
It was a sad day for many in Baton Rouge as they came to pay their respects to a man deemed a Baton Rouge legend, William Black, known to many as "Buckskin Bill."
"Buckskin Bill represents the best of Baton Rouge, a citizen who was certainly concerned about his community and demonstrated his concern throughout his life, so I just wanted to be here to certainly pay my respects to a great man," said East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.
Many people went to Broadmoor United Methodist Church to pay their respects. Services began at noon with the family requesting a private burial.
William Black moved to Baton Rouge in 1955 and began working at WAFB, where he worked for the next 35 years.
"For those of us who grew up seeing themselves through his gentle and compassionate eyes, this is, in many ways, an end of an era," said Rev. Ken Carroll.
Buckskin Bill became family to children who watched him religiously every morning, marched along with him for the "Monday Morning March," and even helped collect pennies to buy an elephant at the Baton Rouge Zoo.
Buckskin Bill is credited with bringing a zoo to Baton Rouge. Rev. Carroll said if the zoo could not take an animal, Buckskin Bill would keep the animal in his backyard and all the kids from the neighborhood would go to his home after school to feed the animals.
"He respected children," said Rev. Carroll. "He received thousands of letters over the years and he kept them all. Bill read stories on TV and he read to his children and grandchildren at home and for schools. He belongs to you, his family, and he belonged to all of us. He touched our lives and he made a difference."
Buckskin Bill also spend 16 years as a member on the East Baton Rouge School Board, continuing to dedicate his life to children. Roger Moser worked on the school board with Buckskin and was at Friday's services to pay his respects.
"He was always there, excellent attendance, and was always involved and as I say, he was always constructive. He was a good man and the kids of course enjoyed his show on TV. He was always in the family one way or another," said Moser. "Going to miss him and every so often, we would talk when we were both off of the board about this or that, so we are going to miss him."
Buckskin was married to the love of his life, Elma, for 65 years. They had three children together. Elma passed away on April 5, 2017.
Buckskin's son says back in November 2017, Buckskin broke his hip after a fall and had surgery for a partial hip replacement. He had been dealing with complications ever since. Buckskin developed an infection and reportedly took a turn for the worse after New Year's.
Buckskin leaves behind three children: a son, Bucky, who lives in North Carolina and two daughters, Ann and Ginger, who live in Louisiana.
The family says they appreciate the love the community has shown towards Buckskin.