David Lee

November 6, 1958 - June 22, 2024

David Lee Black, age 65 of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, passed away June 22, 2024. Visitation will be Thursday, June 27 at College View Church of Christ from 12:00-2:00 p.m. The service will start at 2:00 p.m. with burial following in Tuscumbia Oakwood Cemetery. Kenny Moorer, minister of College View Church of Christ and Jim Zeigler, former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor will be officiating.

David was born in Providence, Rhode Island on November 6, 1958. He was preceded in death by his parents James and Margaret (Peggy) Black. He is survived by his two sisters Debbie Black and Becky Carter (Eric); two nephews Jeffrey Whitlock (Camille) and Brian Whitlock (Danielle); and two great nieces Allison Whitlock and Lydia Whitlock.

David L. Black, Biography

Brief: David had a diverse background in education, business, and politics. He taught at both the K-12 and college levels, helped develop two small businesses, was elected to public office as a County Commissioner, and previously served on the White House staff for President George H. W. Bush and as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  In 2012, David was a candidate for the State School Board of Education and in 2018, he sought the Republican nomination for Alabama State Treasurer. He served as the Chairman of the Colbert County Commission.

In 1982, David began working in higher education as the Assistant Director of the Student Center and Student Activities at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, as well as pursuing graduate studies in public administration.

Having read Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, David patterned a similar trip working his way around the country for six months in 1985.

In 1986, David joined the campaign staff for Governor Bill Clements in Lubbock, TX. After the campaign, he returned to Dallas to help build a small business, the Yellow Rose Touring Company, serving as the Director of Sales and Operations. The company reached $1 million in sales by its second year.

In 1988, he joined the national campaign staff for President George H. W. Bush, in Washington, DC. After serving on the Transition Team, he was asked to the White House staff in the Office of Presidential Personnel in January 1989. In August 1990, he was appointed as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, working on the hotly-debated Civil Rights legislation of 1991 and developing the regulations for just-signed legislation, the Americans with Disability Act.

Upon leaving the Bush Administration, David taught at T.C. Williams High School, 1991-94. Later, this school was featured in the movie, Remember the Titans, of which the coaches were his colleagues. In the evening, he taught English to immigrants, often from many countries in the same classroom. David also pursued graduate studies in international relations at George Mason University.

During those three years, David helped build another small business, a.k.a. Frisco’s Café, serving as the Weekend Manager. By its second year, sales reached $500K and it just recently celebrated its 30th year in business!

David returned to Alabama in 1994 to complete his graduate studies in education and economics. While serving as a substitute teacher in Huntsville, he taught every subject in every grade, K-12, which later helped him in developing curriculum guides for a variety of subjects.

From 1996-1999, David taught government and economics at Bob Jones High School in Madison, AL.  He served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department, Advance Placement Coordinator, Chairman of the Senior Sponsors, Sponsor of the US First Robotic Competition Team, member of the Building Leadership Team, member of the Budget Review Committee, and Head Coach of the Swim Team. Junior Achievement named him the Economics Teacher of the Year three times during that time.

Prior to joining UNA, David taught economics, political science, and public policy at Jefferson State Community College, Shelton State Community College, and Athens State University.  While pursuing his doctoral studies, David taught economics at the University of Alabama.

During his time at UNA, David  taught Economics, Finance, History of Economic Theory, International Trade and Finance, Money and Banking, Business Calculus, US Economic History, International Trade and Finance. Because of his previous experience with developing small businesses, David was asked to serve as the Director of the Small Business Development Center, where he advised clients on their new ventures and facilitated over $20 million in procurement contracts, annually, for small businesses.

For the past 15 years, David served as the Chairman of the Annual Conference of the Society of Business, Industry, and Economics (SOBIE), the nation’s premier academic conference for small and regional colleges. Each year, almost 200 business professors and students from over 25 states convene at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort to present their academic research.

From 2013-2019 David served as the President of the Board of Directors for the Shoals Symphony. When he began his tenure, the orchestra’s budget was less than $50K, with considerations of reducing the number of performances from four to three each season.  After conducting a due diligence review, David found there was not a sustainable plan for marketing, management, or finance. Now, the Symphony’s budget is over $250K, with eight performances each season and increasing season ticketholders from less than 50 to over 300!

Along with Conductor, Dr. Daniel Stevens, they built the Symphony into the premier cultural event in northwest Alabama. Now, the Symphony offers a diverse program, including cross-over concerts, professional ballets, and movie concerts, in addition to the classics series.  Some of the performances include Cirque de la Symphonie Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Book, Ratatoullie, Home Alone, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, all sold-out shows!  Each season, the Symphony hosts a free school concert for area school children, with the most recent one attracting over 2500 students in Flowers Hall to see Cirque!  They developed the String Project to bring string instruction to area youth and an Honors Concert, the premier string instructional workshop for high school students in the southeast United States. They started an endowment fund, raising over $30K. Later that year David endowed  two chairs, one in honor of his parents and another in honor of Dr. Stevens, both for $10K each. Each year, David would underwrite a concert.

After completing his service as President of the Symphony, David was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Art Museum.

In 2004, David was asked to serve on the inaugural Distinguished Events Series, representing the College of Business. This committee grew out of the previous Town-and-Gown initiative to bring the community to campus. Over its 10-year period, thousands of citizens and students were exposed to authors, public and historic figures, musicians, and creative individuals.  Some of the guests included, famed Civil Right lawyer Fred Gray, former Alabama Governor John Patterson, opinion writer Dinesh D’Souza, and an artistic exhibit by UNA alumnus Nick Nichols, former Chief Photographer for National Geographic, the last two events which filled Norton Auditorium.

One of the events from this Series was the Storytelling Festival. David worked with then-event organizer, Debbie Chaffin, to develop this event, which attracted patrons from all around the country. Later, when the University no longer provided support, David helped the event transition to a private 501C-3 foundation, of which it still continues to operate.

Another idea that David brought to the Distinguished Events Committee was a literary festival. Eventually, he helped develop the festival through the Helen Keller Library’s Writers to Readers Series, of which David was  a financial supporter.

In 2005, David was asked to join the Board of Directors for the Sportsman’s Club. Upon serving on the Membership Committee, he presented a 25-point proposal to institute changes in the Club’s focus from its moribund complacency to becoming a vital link toward the University’s move to Division One, including: developing an interactive website from its previous static site, allowing for online purchases and contribution; revamping the promotional brochure; revitalizing its Annual Kickoff event to be more inclusive of the community, whereby promoting student athlete scholarship and emphasizing the economic impact of the athletic program; and filming student athlete testimonials to demonstrate the positive effects of donations to the Club. These initiatives helped pave the way for more contributions and additional Club memberships. Each year, David donated over $3K to the Athletic Department.

Around 2007, David  advised a former student with the formation of the Outdoor Activity Center/Program that UNA had just initiated.  With limited funds and starting from ground zero, he helped her connect with various stakeholders for funding and collaborative programming, such as the Campus Campout.  Today, the program continues to strive, promoting UNA as an adventure-friendly location due to the surrounding natural attributes.

Upon becoming a County Commissioner in 2012, his colleagues appointed him to represent the County on the Tourism Board of Directors, upon which he was asked to serve as the Chairman of the Board.  He was steadfast with the Board’s fiscal responsibility to maintain a steady growth in tourism.  In 2018, the County saw a 16% increase in lodging revenue, attracting tourists from over 60 countries.  During this time, Camp Courage was developed, an event that attracts blind and deaf adolescences from around the country to spend a weekend at Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller.

From 2014-2017, David  facilitated the presentation of mortgage-free homes to wounded veterans through the Military Warriors Support Foundation. In 2017, David  served as Chairman of the Heroes for Liberty and Freedom Dinner to raise funds for this project

He led a state-wide initiative to raise over $50K to erect a Gold Star Monument, to honor the families of fallen heroes, through the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

For the past 20 years, David served as Faculty Advisor for both the College Republicans and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Each year, he coordinated student internships in Washington, DC, and Montgomery. The College Republicans have sponsored campaign schools and will participate in the US Senatorial Debate to be held in the Shoals area in 2020. Over the years, David trained many campaign operatives and Congressional staffers, and about 10 former students are now elected to either public office or party leadership positions.  David donated his personal funds for these students to attend national political conferences and political training workshops.

David was a member of the Westmoreland Boy Scout District, serving as the Co-Chairman of the Friends of Scouting Campaign and Chairman of the Steak Social, the annual fund raising event for the program, raising over $50K. Each year David contributed over $1K to the Boy Scouts.

David represented Colbert County on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Youth Services Commission, which is responsible for the juvenile justice facility for the seven-county region of northwest Alabama.

For the past few years, David was honored to represent the nine-county region of northwest Alabama on the Board of Directors for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

Each year, David supported  both the athletic and band programs at Muscle Shoals High School, as well as its Education Foundation, contributing almost $2K.

David traveled over 100 nights each year, representing either the County, SBDC, UNA, or the Republican Party, attending the following meetings or conferences: the quarterly meetings of the State SBDC Network, developing the Network’s strategic plan and accreditation review; the semi-annual meetings of the SBDC State Advisory Board meetings; the SBDCs national conference, annually; the SBDCs Legislative Conference, annually; the National Association of County Commissions Annual Conference (NACo); the quarterly meetings of the Board of Directors for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA); the annual Legislative Conference for the ACCA; the annual Convention for the ACCA; the Southern Economic Association’s annual conference; the Alabama Economic Outlook Conference, annually; and SOBIE.  So far in the fall of 2019, David  attended the Booker T. Washington Economic Summit and the James Buchanan Centennial Birthday Economic Conference on Public Choice Theory.

David attended each ALGOP Dinner and Meeting, twice each year, since 2010.

As a member of the Alabama World Affairs Council, David invited his friend and former White House colleague, Ambassador (Qartar) Chase Untermeyer to serve as the speaker for their meeting in February.

David was also a member of the Southern Economic Association and the Alabama Economics Club. He has been honored by being named a Colonel in both the states of Alabama and Kentucky.

David was a former Colbert County Commissioner and commission chairman.  He also represented the nine county region of northwest Alabama Board of Directors for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.  He was the current chair of the Shoals Republican Club which met monthly at the Helen Keller Library.  He also hosted “Mornings With the Professor” on WLAY 96.7 in Muscle Shoals.  David was president of the Shoals Symphony and current treasurer.  He served as chairman of the Colbert County Tourism Board, member of the Tennessee Valley Youth Services Commission,  past treasurer of the Tennessee Valley Youth Services Art Museum and recently appointed to their Foundation Board.  He was also the current treasurer of the UNA Lions Athletic Club.


June 27, 2024
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


College View Church of Christ, North Pine Street, Florence, AL, USA

June 27, 2024 12:00 pm

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June 27, 2024
2:00 pm


College View Church of Christ, North Pine Street, Florence, AL, USA

June 27, 2024 2:00 pm

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June 27, 2024
3:00 pm


Oakwood Cemetery, Tuscumbia, AL, USA

June 27, 2024 3:00 pm

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15 Comments on “David Lee Black”

  1. I may not have known him as long as a lot of people had, but the more I knew him, the more I liked him. Heaven gained a good one.

    1. David supported me as a young violinist in the shoals symphony. I first met him in 2008. He was kind to me, gave great advice, and never judged me, like others did, for my tattoos, colorful hair and my passions for rock music. When I became Orchestra Director for Florence City Schools, he came to all of our shows, always promoted us, sent out emails across all his contacts about how important our Orchestra is, ask that everyone take notice of our accomplishments. 16 years of my life, he was like my biggest fan and advocate. I will miss him so much, especially at my concerts.

  2. A true southern gentleman and friend to me and my family for 35 years. Rest easy, my friend

  3. A true friend that would help you in anyway. I felt like he was family and was always introducing me to new people! I’ll miss David.

  4. To Becky, I know words are not what you need right now, but it’s all I have to give. David was special to a lot of people and he will be missed. May your wonderful memories of good times spent with him sustain you in your grief. May he rest in peace. Condolences to all of your family.
    From Fred and Anne in Lisbon

  5. My favorite college professor at UNA.
    I was told not to take economics in college because it was so difficult to understand but he made it so interesting that he called me and left a message telling me I had made the highest grade in his class that semester.
    I’m really not that smart but he was very interesting to listen to.
    I got to know him even better when he moved down the street from me in Muscle Shoals. I will certainly miss him.

  6. DLB The VIP,

    We had fun together from The White House to The Blue House. Concerts, sporting events, worshiping, dining and partying. Extra special times were treasured when it was just the three of us (DEH made three in Virginia and later a new trio was created with JL in Alabama).

    I “made your day” many times and I know I am not the only one. I am certain though I was one of your favorites.

    Peanut butter milkshakes will never be the same without you.


  7. My son and I attended the RNC breakfast meetings once a month, where David always did a fantastic job hosting these events. David was such a friendly and intelligent person. Most importantly, he was a true man of God. He did such great work for our community. Heaven gained a good one. Prayers for the family.

  8. A true servant of the people, with decorum and intelligence, but never lacking in humor. This community’s lost a great asset….

  9. Becky and Debbie, I can’t imagine your heartbreak right now. David was such a special person, and was much loved. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of Thanksgiving with all of you, and the piano “play-offs” David and I would have upstairs after dinner. Sending love and hugs, and praying for both of you, as well as for all of David’s other family and friends (of which there are MANY). May his memory be a blessing.

  10. My heart is broken. Friends for more than 30 years, we shared a passion for politics. He was an amazing man and one of my dearest friends. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

  11. To Debbie and Becky, and all of David’s many friends and loved ones, it’s so hard for me to say how much I cared about David. He was my dear friend and a wonderful supporter and friend of tourism. He always championed the success of our programs and attended every single event that we sponsored and presented. He was a man of unbelievable courage, speaking up and speaking out when it was called for. Bryan and I are devastated over his passing. We will always cherish our memories with and of David. We are praying for his family and his loved ones. We pray for God’s comfort.

  12. Dr. Black is one of a kind. He was one of the most intelligent humans that I have ever had the opportunity to be instructed by. To know him was a true blessing – he will be greatly missed

  13. David was a true friend I meet David my first year as a Commissioner and was not sure what I was doing. David encouraged me and made me to relax and just speak from the heart. I am so thankful I got to see him at our Republican Conference and that hug will be with me and encourage me to be strong. Rest in peace my dear friend and I know you have a special place.

  14. Our acquaintance with David began with the 2017 season of the Shoals Symphony. What a thrill to move to an area that had one! Due in part, to what David brought into the program. Such a talented gentleman, who will be greatly missed.

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