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Summerfest announces death of former director Elizabeth 'Bo' Black

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Elizabeth "Bo" Black, the former director of Summerfest, has died.

Summerfest shared the news on social media Friday, July 24, saying in part "we are all grateful for her efforts, creativity and flair, which help make Summerfest the incredible experience it is today."

“She had a love for music and a respect for music and musicians," her husband, Tom Trebelhorn, said.

Known for her vision and leadership, Black will be remembered for her impact on Milwaukee.

In July 2003, she spent time on the Summerfest Grounds during the festival with CBS 58.

Trebelhorn called her a cheerleader of the city and of the lakefront.

“It all came together to be a pretty good package for whatever she decided to do and she just really loved doing what she did at Summerfest,' he said.

Black led the festival for nearly 20 years turning it into an affordable, summertime destination.

“It rivaled any place in the country, that’s for sure," he added.

But she also gave back to her community in other ways.

She fundraised for the Multiple Sclerosis Read-a-Thon, and volunteered and served for other organizations.

“Nobody could be more [of an] example to be inclusive to everybody," Trebelhorn added.

Black was 74 years old, according to her obituary. She is survived by her husband, Tom Trebelhorn, and her three children.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett released the following statement Friday evening:

“Bo Black was a huge part of Milwaukee for many years. In the entire history of Summerfest, no one name is more associated with the annual event than Bo Black.”

“She brought enthusiasm and glamour to her position as the head of Milwaukee World Festivals, and she was also a demanding leader who set Summerfest and ethnic festivals on a course for ongoing success.”

“Bo Black was truly a Milwaukee celebrity. She will be long-remembered for her impact on our city.”
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