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SEAY, JOHN W., 100
Ocala - John W. Seay, age 100 years, was born to Brother John and Ida Moreland Seay on May 22, 1913, in Manchester, GA. He was their third and last child. The family soon moved to Marion County in 1925 and settled in Boardman, FL where his father worked at a sawmill. They then moved to Ocala, FL where his mother ran a boarding house and his dad did mechanical work in his backyard shop. He graduated from Ocala High School in 1932 where he played on the Wildcats baseball team. John was awarded a full baseball scholarship and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He played baseball for the Florida Gators and was the team's catcher and captain. He went on to play pro-ball briefly for the Gainesville G-Men, but realized his calling was to be a coach and a teacher. John married Mary Elise Dickenson on March 28, 1940. They had two children, Mary Elizabeth (Mary Beth) and Shirley Nelle. John served in the US Army Medical Corps in WWII as a rehabilitation specialist and was stationed in Bristol, England for most of his time. He devised programs to work with wounded soldiers for rehabilitation and education. John taught in Summerfield, Reddick, and Gainesville at the high school level. He was elected Marion County Superintendant of Schools in 1961 and reelected in 1965. He was then called to Tallahassee to serve as Deputy Commissioner of Education from 1966-71. One of his greatest accomplishments was to convince school boards throughout Florida not to fire teachers who were striking for higher pay. The average teacher pay at that time was less than $5,000 a year. Also, during the early years of integration, he submitted the first Integration Plan for Florida schools. He and Mary returned to Ocala to enjoy their retirement years. John taught Sunday School for 62 years at First Baptist, Downtown Baptist, and Woodside Baptist Churches. He was active in the Ocala Kiwanis Club and was instrumental in developing Camp Kiwanis. One of his fondest memories was the family trip to Alaska to celebrate his and Mary's 50th wedding anniversary.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Mary, and his daughters Mary Beth (Tallahassee) and Shirley (Palm Harbor) and their spouses Dee Shepherd and Joe Keresztesi. He is also survived by a niece Marjorie Smith (Jacksonville, FL), nephew John D. Seay (Lagrange, GA), as well as other nieces and nephews and numerous great nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents he was pre deceased by his brother, Roy Seay and his sister, Nelle Greene.
The family would like to especially thank the wonderful staff at Chambrell Pinecastle where he and Mary lived the last three years, Hospice of Marion County, and their adopted family Juan, Bety, Melissa, Julie, and Gabby Martinez. They also are grateful to all the many friends who have been so important and supportive to John over the years.
A memorial service for John will be held Wednesday, June 26th at Woodside Baptist Church at 1 PM. The church is located at 2450 NE 28thStreet, Ocala, FL. The family suggests in place of flowers, that contributions in John's memory be made to the John W. and Mary D. Seay Endowed Scholarship at the College of Central Florida, in care of Traci Mason at The Enterprise Center-202, 3001 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474. Condolences may be left at
Published in Ocala Star-Banner from June 25 to June 27, 2013
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