A memorial service for Dr. John Acker Vanderford, 93, will be held Wednesday, May 28, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville with the Rev. Dr. Derek Staples leading the service. The family will receive friends at the church for one hour prior to the service. Dr. Vanderford was survived by his wife of 66 years, Kathryn C. Vanderford, of Jacksonville; two daughters, Karen V. Brown and her husband Richard, of Huntsville, and Kathy V. Sealy and her husband Byran of Helena; a son, Roy Vanderford and his wife Karen of Fishers, Ind; 7 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Dr. Vanderford was born in Spring Garden, Alabama. Following early years on a farm and education in a one-room schoolhouse in Ladiga, he graduated from Piedmont High School at age 16. He then attended Jacksonville State Teachers College for three years before serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps in Alaska during World War II
. After the war he finished his degree at Jacksonville State, then taught English at Ohatchee High School, became principal at Weaver High School and later principal at Alexandria High School. Dr.Vanderford moved away from Alabama in 1951 to take an administrative position at Shorter College in Rome, Ga. He also earned a master's degree from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, Tenn. (now part of Vanderbilt University
). In 1956 he became an educational specialist at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga, progressing to Chief of Staff and Faculty Development for the Military Police School. During that time, he earned a doctorate in adult education from the University of Georgia
. In 1975 the move of the Military Police School to Fort McClellan allowed the Vanderford family to return to Alabama and take up residence in Jacksonville. Dr. Vanderford served as adjunct faculty at Gadsden State Community College and Jacksonville State University. He was an active member, deacon, and Sunday School teacher at the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, where we was awarded the status of Deacon Emeritus in 2006. He was a Gideon and traveled throughout the region to make presentations at churches on their behalf. He also belonged to the American Legion Post #57 in Jacksonville. Many local residents know Vanderford by his frequent letters to the editor in the Anniston Star on a wide range of topics over a 30-year period. Dr. Vanderford was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Nell Vanderford; four brothers, Arnel Vanderford, Harold Vanderford, Gilbert Vanderford and Claude Vanderford; a sister, Dorothy Fay Buttram and two grandchildren, Ross Vanderford and Lauren Sealy. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the WMU Foundation, 100 Missionary Ridge Birmingham, AL 35242 or Gideons International, North Calhoun Gideon Camp, P.O. Box 335, Jacksonville, AL 36265. Online condolences to the family at www.klbrownfuneralhome.com.
K. L. Brown Funeral Home and Cremation Center 322 Nisbet Street, NW Jacksonville, AL 36265 256.435.7042