Luxury-brand furniture designer John Black dies at 71


GREENSBORO, N.C. — Furniture designer John E. Black, age 71, died at his home Dec. 17 after a long battle with cancer.

Black was born in Morganton, N.C., on June 1, 1950, the son of Fred and Martha Black, who preceded him in death. After attending Kendall College of Art and Design in the early 1970s, Black apprenticed with leading furniture design firms in Montreal, Washington D.C. and Chicago. From 1991-2000, he served as Baker Furniture vice president of design, guiding the development of collections from Barbara Barry, Michael Vanderbyl and Milling Road, among others.

Black formed J Black Design in 2000, a partnership with his wife, Joyce Lortz Black. He designed iconic furniture collections for leading luxury brands, including Baker, Century, Councill, Ethan Allen, Hancock & Moore, Hickory Chair, Kravet and Vanguard. He retired in 2018.

In addition to his wife Joyce, Black is survived by his son and two grandchildren.

A celebration of John Black’s life and career will be held on March 30, 2022, at the Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point for family, friends and colleagues. Further details will be forthcoming.

Joyce Black, together with family and friends, have established a design scholarship in John Black’s name, in partnership with the Bienenstock Furniture Library, supporting the Library’s Future Designers Summit set for the fall 2022. In lieu of flowers, contributions are most welcome and fully tax deductible. Please make checks payable to the Bienenstock Furniture Library (with “John Black” noted in the memo line) and mail to the Library at 1009 N. Main Street, High Point, N.C. 27262.


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