Date: April 16, 2010
Denroy Anthony Black, 1963-2010
Above everything else, 46-year-old Denroy Black was a committed father to his three children and a devoted son to his Heavenly Father. On Thursday, April 15, Denroy was driving home from his construction job to be with his children, 12-year-old Denique, 10-year-old Denoi and 5-year-old Denalia so his wife, Marvelyn, could go to her nursing shift at Lakeland Hospital. It was at the intersection of Shawnee and Garr Roads where a three-car crash suddenly took Denroy’s life shortly after 4 p.m. He died at the scene.
A native of West Mooreland, Jamaica, Denroy was born in 1963 to Murdina and Hezekiah Black. He was the baby of the family, joining siblings Pauline, Ransford, Errol and Monica. Denroy’s father died when he was young, leading him to be very independent at a young age. At 15, he began financing his own education, something he continued to do throughout secondary school, college at West Indies University (now Northern Caribbean University) and then at Andrews University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1991 and an Associate of Science in 1996, both from Northern Caribbean University. In 1993, he began as an intern pastor with the Montego Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church in the West Jamaica Conference. The following year, he was given a circuit of nine churches, serving as the senior pastor for all nine churches. During his years of ministry in Jamaica, he was known for being a very committed pastor. After learning of his death, one of his church members called Marvelyn to say no one visited shut-ins, cared for his family or counseled with his people like Pastor Black. Marvelyn says, “I didn’t know he was such a respected man until he died.”
In 1996, Denroy married his college sweetheart, Marvelyn. The couple continued to work in ministry and soon their first child, daughter Denique, joined the family. “It was such a blessing to our family,” says Marvelyn.
The young family transitioned to a new pastoral assignment that again had Denroy as senior pastor over nine churches. But as much as he loved ministry, he felt called to study. “He chose to study at Andrews University. He had always wanted to study here,” says Marvelyn.
In August 1999, Denroy, a very-pregnant Marvelyn and 1½ year old Denique came to Berrien Springs. Just two weeks after arriving, their son, Denoi, was born. “I don’t know how we did it but God had ordained for us to come here,” she says. “He (Denroy) trusted in God. We didn’t have money or stuff like that. I feel God brought him through this because it is not an ordinary thing to go right up to your ThD without some divine intervention.”
Denroy completed his master’s in religion at Andrews in 2002 and immediately turned his focus to completing his ThD. He loved books and spent hours in study, but he would bring his research—and stacks of books—home so he could be close to his children. Denroy was a scholar at heart and he strived to teach his children the habits of a good scholar. “Every single night, he is the one who made sure the children finished their assignments. He had a dream for them, for college.”
The Black family was looking forward to having more time together once Denroy completed his education. They were planning a road trip for after his August 2010 graduation. “He loved his kids so much,” says Marvelyn. “He cared for them when they were sick and every day he made sure they took a multivitamin. His children are looking forward to seeing him again when Jesus comes.”
Denroy wasn’t sure what his post-graduation life would hold, but was committed to going anywhere the Lord led. “He was working to finish his dissertation and in that paper, he found God,” says Marvelyn. “He was a changed person. There was something different about him.”
“I’m still questioning ‘why?’ But I know God is too kind to be cruel,” says Marvelyn. “It’s a lot of pain, so much pain but we’re still holding fast to His promise that He will never leave His people alone. Everything looks so sad and dreary, but I’m holding onto hope. And my children are holding on to that same hope, too.”
The viewing for Denroy Black will be held on Sunday, April 25 from noon-2 p.m. at Pioneer Memorial Church. The funeral begins at 2 p.m. A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 26 at Rosehill Cemetery in Berrien Springs. Contributions to the family can be made to the Seminary Emergency Scholarship Fund by making checks payable to Andrews University and sending them to Seminary Dean’s office.