Furniture Designer John Black Passes Away at 71


John E. Black, 71, died after a long battle with prostate cancer. He passed peacefully at his home in Greensboro, embraced by his wife Joyce and sister-in-law Ann, bolstered by family and friends near and far, and comforted by his favorite feline Coco.


At a young age it was discovered “Johnny could draw,” which ultimately led him to Kendall College of Art and Design in early 70s. Here John met Joyce, fellow art student and the love of his life, and began a long and esteemed career in furniture design. As his talent and vision matured, John rose in the profession, ultimately forming J Black Design in 2000, a partnership with Joyce. Until his retirement in 2018 (at which time he turned his design prowess to restoring vintage motorcycles), John designed iconic furniture collections for top national brands.


In addition to his wife Joyce, John is survived by son Christopher Witherspoon (Tanya) and grandchildren Carson and Allie, sister Angela Black Russell, sister-in-law Ann (Joe) Johnson, brothers-in-law Tom (Evelyn) Lortz and John (wife’s name) Lortz, a passel of nieces and nephews and “greats”, many Morganton cousins, and countless friends and colleagues.


With John’s passing adventure continues to call. The family will scatter John’s ashes far off the coast of North Carolina to travel the world with the Gulf Stream.


JOHN BLACK: A LIFE IN DESIGN, a celebration of John’s life and career is planned for Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at the Bienenstock Furniture Library (High Point) for family, friends and colleagues. Further details will be forthcoming.



Joyce Black, together with friends and family, have established a design scholarship in John’s name, in partnership with the Bienenstock Furniture Library, supporting the Library’s Future Designers Summit, fall 2022. Contributions are most welcome and fully tax deductible. Please make your check payable to the Bienenstock Furniture Library, and mail to the Library at 1009 N. Main Street, High Point, NC 27262.





Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.

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