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John Richard Abner, Jr. (1930-2014) passed away peacefully on June 1, 2014 at Covenant Hospice of West Florida Hospital after years of declining health following a stroke. He was born to John R. Abner, Sr. and Minnie Becker Abner in Ypsilanti, Michigan on October 22, 1930. He is survived by his high school sweetheart, loving and devoted wife of 62 years Elizabeth Mayers Abner (Bette), sons John R. Abner, III of Denham Springs, LA; Steven R. Abner (Julie Wall) of Birmingham, AL, and daughter Tracy Abner Reed (Alan) of Charlotte, NC; grandchildren Nathan Mayers Abner of Portland, OR; Sarah Elizabeth Abner-Arsenault of Dothan, AL; Benjamin Nichols Abner, Fairborn, OH; Megan Elizabeth O'Brien, Tampa. FL; Jessica Lauren Abner and Emma Kharis DuCote-Abner of Birmingham, AL; and Drayton Chevis Christopher Reed of Charlotte, NC; great-grandchildren Bailey and Caleb Abner; and brother David Allen Abner of Atlanta, GA; sister Sondra Abner Hellier of Jacksonville, FL, as well as many nieces and nephews in Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee.
John graduated from Clearwater High School (Florida) in 1948. He earned a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and served as a lieutenant in the US Air Force for two years during the Korean War before starting his career in textiles research and design with Chemstrand (later Monsanto). During that time, he also earned a BS in Systems Science, and an MBA from the University of West Florida. He retired after 33 years and he and Bette followed their dream of living on a sailboat for two years. John then started a second career in real estate, eventually serving as Secretary of the Pensacola Board of Realtors.
John enjoyed all sports, particularly golf, as well as fishing, contract bridge, chess, snow skiing, and roller skating. He loved playing the piano and spent many happy hours at the piano at home accompanying anybody who wanted to sing. His warm and positive personality made him a joy to be around.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or TEACCH Autism Program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campus Box 7180, Chapel Hill, NC 27599 Attn: Development Office.
Interment will be private.
National Cremation & Burial Society of Milton has been entrusted with the arrangements.
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on June 4, 2014