John Witherspoon

John Alexander Witherspoon Jr.

Friday, January 15th, 2021
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John Alexander Witherspoon Jr.
1931 - 2021

On Friday January 15th, 2021, John Alexander Witherspoon Jr. fought hard to get back to his wife and family but lost his battle with COVID 19.

Proceeded in death by his parents, John A Witherspoon and Mary Harrington Witherspoon, brother, Harrington Witherspoon, and first-born daughter, Roberta Harrington Witherspoon.

He is not only survived but will always be adored by his loving wife of 67 years Roberta Suddoth Witherspoon, children John A Witherspoon IV (Leigh), James Dixon Witherspoon (Wanda), and Lynn Witherspoon Osgood (Byron), grandchildren John A Witherspoon V, Jim Witherspoon, Mary Taylor Schipani (Matthew), Anna Witherspoon, Lexie Osgood, and Bo Osgood and nieces and nephew Mary Helen Maskill (Bill), Mary Witherspoon (Beth), and Harrington Witherspoon (Tracy).

A native Nashvillian, John was born on August 1, 1931. He entered into a hardworking family of Insurance Executives and Doctors from whom he learned dedication and determination.

His graduation from Baylor Military School started the tradition of attending Baylor School for his brother, son, Dixon and granddaughter, Anna. John attended the University of the South at Sewanee and was a member of Phi Delta Theta. He then enlisted before graduating college as an engineer for the Air Force. After serving five and one half years in the U.S. Air Force he was discharged as a First Lieutenant and retired from the Tennessee Air National Guard as Captain in 1960.

Upon returning to their roots in Nashville, TN in May of 1956, John began his association and soon ownership of Gale Smith + Company (est. 1868). He may have “retired” in 2008 but never truly stopped working.

John was active in many local civic organizations. In addition to being in the Exchange Club, he sat on the board of Governor’s of the Chamber of Commerce’s Nashville Area of Young Men’s Division for five years and was their Man of the Year in 1964. He also served on the board of the Senior Chamber of Commerce.

He was on the Building Commission for the Airport Authority and a member of their Blue Ribbon Committee. John was proud to be a Past President of the Nashville-Davidson County Cancer Society and Treasurer of the State Cancer Society. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers. John was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church and an unofficial resident of the back pew. In 1999, he received the Jim Alexander Achievement Award for an unsurpassed level of leadership and excellence in the insurance industry.

John was a man of God, proud of his country but most of all adored his family. The day he met Roberta, he returned home to his mother and said, “I’ve met the girl I am going to marry”. At his graduation from the Air force, John proposed to Roberta amidst the 1953 Waco Tornado. He loved to play golf and was very proud to be a third generation member of the Belle Meade Country Club, one of the founders of the Golf Club of Tennessee and member of Burnt Pines Club of Sandestin, Florida. With three children and six grandchildren, John never had a dull moment. He never met a stranger or a dog he did not like. Thus his “family” was always growing but most importantly over flowing with love, laughter, and sometimes a glass of Jack. He always “had the floor” in order to keep his family in line and on time. He raised his grandchildren to be close like siblings and his family to spend as much time together as possible. The drinks started at 5 and everyone was welcome for happy hour. When you met his gaze, there was a twinkle in his eye soon followed by a wink. Spoon, The General, Gran is a man who will never be forgotten but cherished through his stories, quotes and ample memories.

He will be inurned at the columbarium at the First Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN at a later date.
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