From plumbing and construction to city council to Rotary and Oildorado, Black gave a lot back to Taft
Glenn Dolder Black left quite a legacy in the town he loved, both in the public and private sector.
The businessman, former councilman and mayor died March 11 at age 91.
He is being remembered for his partnerships with his brother, Bill, and others, who built many of the homes and commercial buildings in Taft and installed the plumbing for a great many more.
He was also one of the founding directors of the West Kern Water District, served on the Taft City Council longer than anyone else, and is especially remembered for is work in the community, whether it was flipping pancakes, selling fireworks or collecting food.
Black will be remembered at a memorial service on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church.
His son, Glenn W. Black, said his father just loved what he was doing.
“He loved Taft. He truly loved Taft,” the younger Black said. “He loved the people of Taft and enjoyed being able to give back to the community.”
Glenn W. is following in his father's footsteps.
He heads up Taft Plumbing, the company Dolder and Bill didn't start but bought and turned into a major contractor for new construction projects, and Black Hall Construction, founded by his father and uncle.
He has also served as President of Taft Oildorado, as did his father.
The younger black said he learned a lot from his father – “honesty, hard work, dedication.”
Dolder didn't come to Taft until the late 1930s when he was a sophomore in high school.
He was a star basketball player both at TUHS and later at Taft College.
He learned to fly and enlisted in the Army as an air cadet in 1942.
He was discharged from the Army in 1947.
Dolder and Bill Black purchased Taft Plumbing, then a small firm, in 1947. The banks wouldn't loan them any money, so they borrowed the money from an uncle.
It was a five-year note, Glenn W. said. But Dolder and Bill paid it back in a year.
“They didn't believe in borrowing, but they had to,” Glenn W. said.
Taft Plumbing and Black Brothers Construction played a major role in Taft's growth and development for the next several decades.
One of those who worked closely with Dolder was developer Bob Colston, a longime friend.? “We worked together for many, many years on a lot of projects, and there was never ill feelings for even one minute,” Colston said
Dolder played a major role in the community in other ways, too.
He was first elected to the City Council in 1951 and served for 24 years in two stints, including 10 years as mayor.
Former City Manger Stephen Wright emailed the Taft Midway Driller after learning of Black's passing.
“Glenn was a great Mayor,” Wright wrote. “He came from the business world. He knew how to lead, how to guide the City Council and how to ask the right questions of staff at the right times. He became a friend. I have now been in the city management profession for over 45 years and have worked for over 100 different elected officials over that time. Glenn ranks right there at the top as one of the best. Taft lost a good man this week.”
Dolder also helped found the West Kern Water District.
His service to the community went far beyond business and politics.
He was active in many community and charitable activities, including Taft Rotary Club, Oildorado, the Petroleum Pioneers, Elks Lodge, Moose Lodge, Salvation Army and others.
“I worked with him as a volunteer at the NEEDS Center and he was the most kind, generous and intelligent man,” Lucille Holt wrote on the Taftmidwaydriller.com's Facebook page.
He truly was one of the town's most prominent citizens – ever.