Taking a moment for MaryAnn Black

We are devastated by the passing of MaryAnn Black. She was a mainstay to so many wonderful efforts in Durham, and a good friend to many.  Her support of the Museum of Durham History was always positive and thorough.  As a founding board member, she invested as much effort into this scrappy startup museum as she did for Duke Health and the NC General Assembly. MoDH staff and board always felt they could go to her for help – and she would instantly be there.  As fellow board member Jane Goodridge put it, “this is a tragic loss for Durham.”

Those who knew Ms. Black and worked closely with her recall how generous she was with her time, and their thoughts are shared below. We will certainly miss her.

-Patrick Mucklow, Executive Director & Katie Spencer Wright, former Executive Director


Fairness. That is what MaryAnn was all about, always fair in her outlook and how she lived her life. Her dedication to the people of this community was unmatched. She was thoughtful, knowledgeable, and had a thorough understanding of the issue(s) at hand. Her vision for the Museum was a place for the people and their stories, and she valued the importance for those stories to be shared.  -Ruth Dzau

MaryAnn came on the board early on when we were discerning what the MoDH would be. She was alway thoughtful and committed to our making it happen. She was generous and caring. One of the most selfless persons I’ve worked with. A great loss for Durham and humanity.  -Lew Myers

I have known MaryAnn Black for many years and have appreciated her wisdom.  First as a Board Member on the Museum of Life and Science and later in her various roles of community leadership.  Whenever I faced a challenge and needed to determine how the community leadership might respond I talked with MaryAnn.  She always responded in the most thoughtful ways and let me know the pros and cons of various choices.

When I asked her for a favor,  You could count on her to follow through.  -Tom Krakauer

For several years during my time in the County Manager’s Office not long after I first moved to Durham. And, just as recently as last month I reached out to her to serve as keynote speaker for our police academy graduation. Now I know why she graciously declined. She is among my most respected public servants.; I was truly sad to hear of her passing last night.  -Kimberle Walker

MaryAnn was my role model, and she was my friend.  She served North Carolina — and Durham in particular — with compassion and a wisdom beyond her years.  Painful as her passing is, MaryAnn’s example continues to illuminate for us all the importance of giving back to our community. Through our good deeds, her memory lives on.                                 -Renee Snyderman

I’m so grateful for the time I spent working alongside MaryAnn to launch the MoDH—one part of her profound legacy. I can still hear her talking about importance of Durham’s history—or herstory as she liked to say with twinkle in her eye! MaryAnn’s days were frequently packed with the work she led and responsibilities she juggled, yet she was so generous with her time. I frequently sought her out for guidance and she always made time for me as I know she did for so many others. As I encounter situations requiring grace and diplomacy, I know I’ll continue to ask myself — what would MaryAnn do?         -Katie Spencer Wright
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