William "Buckskin Bill" Black... 01/22/02

In 1956, WAFB-TV children's show host William "Buckskin Bill" Black began closing is program witht he admonition "Remember, Baton Rouge needs a zoo." After the Greater Baton Rouge Zoo opened in 1970, Black asked his young listeners to donate pennies to buy an elephant. The wildly successful campaign raise enough money to buy two elephants- Penny and Penny Two. Black, now retired from children's television, is shown here with a successor to Penny. Ran Mary 21, 1990 State-Times. Photy by Guy Reynolds. Malformed publication history data 112-Book Keyword Communications Labor Recreation

Guy Reynolds

Funeral services for William “Bill” Black, known to most as “Buckskin” Bill,” will be held in Baton Rouge on Friday, according to the family of one of the city's most beloved figures.

Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Broadmoor United Methodist Church. There'll be a memorial service at noon, and a reception to follow. A private burial will be held for immediate family.

In Black's obituary, his family describes him as a tireless worker and dedicated family man.

"Bill's greatest joy was being "Pawpaw" to his and Elma's six grandchildren, who gave them many new adventures," the obituary reads. "Bill loved surf fishing especially for "specks" in Cocodrie, cheering for the Saints, and all things LSU…though he was still a proud "Okie" married to an "Arkie...

"Bill's one-of-a-kind personality, love for storytelling, and gift of humor will be fondly remembered by all who met him."

For decades, Black appeared daily on WAFB-TV in his cowboy character, charming generations of children with his homespun, good natured presence. His children's shows, "Storyland" aired in the morning and "The Buckskin Bill Show" aired in the afternoon on the television station Monday through Friday from 1955 to 1988. At the time, it held the national record for the longest-running children's show. It shifted to a Saturday morning only show, but was canceled a year later. He retired from the station in 1990.

Black reentered the public eye in 1994 when he was elected to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as part of a school reform initiative, replacing most of the sitting board member. Representing the Broadmoor area, Black remained on the board until 2010.