Jackson County Times

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Graceville Loses A Community Leader…John Morrow

By Sid Riley

“He was a man of dedication…dedicated to God, dedicated to his family, and dedicated to the City of Graceville.” What better testimonial could be given to John Morrow.

John Morrow has been an active part of the Graceville civic and business community for most of his life.  He was also a long time deacon in the First Baptist Church of Graceville; he will be missed in the Graceville Lions Club as well as the Graceville Arts League, where he was a charter member.  He also served as an officer on the Graceville Development Council for many years.  He was a vital component of the Graceville community …Graceville will miss him.

John was also a devoted Christian husband and father.  He was married to his wife Jeannette for over 47 years.  They had two children, a daughter Anna and a son Bill. The apple of his eye was his only grandchild, Wesley.

John moved to Graceville when he was three.  After he graduated from Graceville High School, John first went to Chipola Junior College, and then to Iowa State University to study Agriculture and Poultry Management.  He returned to Graceville and entered the poultry industry where he worked for the next twenty-five years at Cloverdale Farms as General Manager and Vice-President.

He subsequently opened a Men’s Clothing Store, “John’s Ltd.” in downtown Graceville, which he operated for approximately five years near the site of Grady’s Restaurant. He loved his customers and paid special attention to each one making sure they were properly fitted and accessorized. After closing his store in Graceville, he worked for Parisian in Dothan in the men’s department.  Here again, he made many new friends from all over the Wiregrass because of his attention to small details.

“John was a very ‘special’ person.  When my husband and I first moved to Graceville, it was Jeannette and John who made us feel most welcome.  They introduced us to everyone in town and really got us off to a good start in the community here.  After that, our families became close friends.  John was always so thoughtful of others.  After my husband became ill, one day I came home to find John raking leaves in my yard…just because he knew it needed to be done.  Even when he became very ill, he would still call frequently to check on my husband’s condition.  John was a wonderful, caring person.”  Those were the words of Reta Cordell, a close friend of John and Jeannnette.

Our family moved to Graceville in June of 1987.  My wife, Lois, & I had lived our entire lives before this in a small textile mill town in upstate South Carolina.  At 30 years old, and moving away from home for the first time, with a one year old son and a two year old daughter, we were scared to death.  John & Jeannette Morrow were instrumental in helping make Graceville home for us.  They opened their hearts and home, making us a part of their family.  John became a surrogate grandfather to our children.  Heather and Benjamin loved the affection and attention that flowed naturally from John’s heart.  What comes to mind as I remember John Morrow is that he was always a gentleman with a gentle spirit, a kind heart, and a quick wit.  Even as John’s health was declining, he never lost his gentleness, his kindness, or his wit.   As we recall the years we spent in Graceville, we have very fond memories of relationships with some wonderful & special people.  John Morrow was one of those “special” people. Written by Cullen and Lois Porter, friends who now reside in Thompson, Georgia.

“I grew up living across the street from the Morrow family. I have known John’s parents, and John all of my life.  John was an outstanding man, full of love and kindness, always willing to help people.  He also had a great sense of humor.  Once he saw my wife outside raking leaves, and later in the day he phoned to tell her he noticed she had missed a leaf on one side of the house.  I taught both of the Morrow children at Graceville.  They were all a great, Christian family.  He was also always active in all of the civic work the Graceville Lions Club has done through the years.  I think a good word to use in describing John’s approach to life would be the word “commitment”.  He was committed to his church, his family, and the town of Graceville”  This tribute was given by Lee Miller, a lifelong friend.

“John was a man who everyone respected and appreciated.  He deeply loved Graceville, and was always ready and eager to help anyone who needed his help.  He was a man of God, and serving the First Baptist Church has always been a big part of his life.  An example of his love for Graceville would be the donation John and Jeannette recently gave to the Arts League in Graceville.  They donated a collection of around fifty photographs depicting the history of Graceville.  These are being framed and matted at this time, but will eventually be on display, probably at the public library.”  This tribute was paid by Dr. Jerry Windsor of Graceville.

“John was a highly respected member of our church.  He was a very gracious, caring person with an ingrained desire to help others.  Through his life of service he had a tremendous impact on our Church and the Graceville community.  He loved the Lord, and was here at the Church any time he was able to be here.  He continued to come during his battle for life.  While some seem to look for an excuse not to come to Church….John always looked for a reason to be here.  He was a long time ordained Deacon in our Church.  He was also devoted to helping the Bible College.  I know of several occasions where he personally helped students raise funding they needed for mission work.  He was a true Christian, and exemplified what a Christian should be.”  These were the words of his pastor at the First Baptist Church, Rev. Tim Folds.

If the true measure of a man’s worth is the friends he leaves behind, John Morrow is certainly a treasure which has recently been lost by the Graceville community.  God bless him and his family.

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