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Edward Pennington Black

October 16, 1931 ~ February 26, 2021 (age 89)


Edward Pennington Black “Penny”, 89 of West Chester, PA and Otter Lake, NY passed away on Friday, February 26, 2021 at Chester County Hospital after a brief illness.  He was born on October 16, 1931 in Gary, Indiana.  Baptized at Community Presbyterian Church on October 7, 1945.  He was the son of the late Edward G Black and the late Ruth Lambert Black. 

He grew up in Miller, Merrillville, and Crown Point, Indiana and was a graduate of the class of 1950 at Merrillville High School.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1954.  While at Purdue he was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity.  He also was a member of the Purdue Airforce ROTC Rife Team.  He was an original founding member of Club 25 (currently Gemini House), a social fraternity.

After graduation he was classified 1A status for the military draft which made employment difficult.  He did get a job with Ford Motor Company, Aircraft Engine Division in Chicago, IL.  He worked on the production of the J-57 turbojet engine for the B-52 bomber and the F-100 fighter until June 1955 when he was drafted into the Army.  He took basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, and was assigned to Guided Missile School, Ft. Bliss, TX in September.  After completing school on the Corporal Missile Electronic Guidance System, he was selected to join the Technical Assistance Team (TAT), a cadre group directing troop training on missile operations.  He completed his military career with this group and joined the General Electric Company, Utica, NY in June 1957 where he accepted a position with Radio Guidance Operation.

He provided the mechanical design on the Doppler Transponder, for the Atlas Missile and Titan Radio Guidance System.  These missiles were used to put the US astronauts on the Mercury and Gemini Programs into earth orbit.  Through January of 1966 to July of 1967 the Guidance Systems provided 77 consecutive failure free flights.  In 1967 Ed transferred to GE, Light Military Electronics Department, across town where he directed the mechanical design on the Corona Spy Satellite Computer, a 40-pound computer which contained over 10,000 electronic parts. In 1969 a former GE Utica friend offered him an advanced position at GE, Reentry Systems, in Philadelphia.  In January 1993 he retired from GE when GE sold the Aerospace Group to Martin Marietta.  He returned as a consultant, for Lockheed Martin, later that year to direct the mechanical design of the radar communications equipment on the Landsat 7 Satellite.  He fully retired in May of 1997.

After retirement, he enjoyed spending his summers at the family home in Otter Lake, NY and traveling throughout North America and Europe.  His hobbies included fishing, hunting, camping, boating, gardening, and watercolor painting.  He was a history buff focusing on the Civil War and World War ll.  An avid sports enthusiast, he followed the Brooklyn Dodgers, Philadelphia professional sports teams as well as Perdue sports.  He was a 32nd degree Shriner and was also active at the Westminster Presbyterian church, teaching Sunday school.  He also worked part-time doing tax returns at H&R Block up until age 85. 

He is survived by his wife Helen J Black of West Chester, PA and two daughters, Janet H Svoboda and her significant other Brad Labate of Flagler Beach, FL, Linda J Kelnock, and her husband Michael of West Chester, PA, and sister Suzanne E Patton of Lafayette, IN.  Also survived by nieces Lori, Colleen, Jennifer, and nephew Darren.  Grandnieces Maeve, Annie, Christine.  Grandnephews Thomas, Justin. 

He was preceded in death by his brother David R Black of Griffith, IN. 

Live streaming of his service will be at 2pm on Saturday March 6, 2021 from the DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home in West Chester, PA.  Live Streaming of his service can be accessed via link

A graveside service and burial will be held in Old Forge, NY this summer.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Ducks Unlimited One Waterfowl Way, Memphis TN.

Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 410 N. Church Street West Chester, PA 19380; 610-696-1181 www,/ 


Live Streaming of the Funeral Service
March 6, 2021

2:00 PM
DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home
410 N. Church St
West Chester, PA

Video is available for this event


Ducks Unlimited
One Waterfowl Way, Memphis TN
Tel: 1-800-453-8257

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