John Willis Gregory Sr.

John Willis Gregory, Sr.

Nashville, TN

John Willis Gregory, Sr., age 98, died October 6th, 2013.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sara McDowell Gregory.

He is survived by two sons, John W. Gregory, Jr. and Luke Gregory; daughters-in-law, Olivia Oldham Gregory and Susan Atkinson Gregory; grandchildren, Elise Gregory, Kate Gregory Ericksen and husband Matthew Ericksen, Christopher Gregory, and Benjamin Gregory; sister, Eunice Gregory Hudson, as well as many other relatives.

A native of Putnam County, Georgia and the son of the late C.F. Gregory and Susie Welch Gregory, he was a graduate of Rockville Academy and Eatonton High School in Eatonton, Georgia. He received degrees from Mercer University, University of Georgia, and Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and attended Duke University.

He was a veteran of World War II, having served in the Army Air Corps in the Italian campaign and decorated for service in the Arno River Battle.

His teaching career included positions at Rockdale and Muscogee Counties - Georgia Public School System, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Oxford College of Emory University. He and his wife, Sara, joined the Oxford College faculty in 1947. He retired in 1979 as Professor Emeritus of Humanities. During his years at Oxford College of Emory University, he was active in both academic and campus programs. The 1967 college yearbook was dedicated to him and Mrs. Gregory. He received the Spokesman Award for Outstanding Service to Oxford College and Community. Several scholarships and funds were established by family and friends in their honor and memory, including the John W. and Sara M. Gregory Scholarship, the Sara Gregory Book Fund, and the Gregory-Rackley Development Award. Professor Gregory recently endowed the Sara McDowell Gregory Memorial Scholarship at Oxford College.

In 2001, the Oxford College Board of Counselors named him and his late wife, Sara, the recipients of the R. Carl Chandler Award for a Lifetime of Service to Oxford College. In 2004, he received the Oxford College Alumni Association's Outstanding Teaching Award which cited the following contributions he made to Oxford College and the community: "Humanist, Publicist, Coach, Educator, Counselor, Advisor, Benefactor, Churchman, Teacher."

Professor and Mrs. Gregory joined the Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford, Georgia in 1947 and were active members in the life of the church.

In remembrance of Professor Gregory and with gratitude by the family for all of the friendships he enjoyed in Nashville these past 12 years, a reception will be held on Sunday, October 20th from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Blakeford at Green Hills in Nashville, Tennessee. A Memorial service will be held at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford, Georgia on Sunday, November 3rd at 2 p.m. Reverend Max Vincent to officiate. Following the Memorial service, the family will greet friends at a reception in Lovern Hall, adjacent to the church.

He and Mrs. Gregory both chose to be body donors, Mrs. Gregory to Emory University School of Medicine and Professor Gregory to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Interment will be in the Oxford Historical Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Allen Memorial United Methodist Church in Oxford, Georgia; St. Paul United Methodist Church in Eatonton, Georgia; John W. and Sara M. Scholarship, the Sara McDowell Gregory Memorial Scholarship, the Sara Gregory Book Fund or the Gregory-Rackley Development Award at Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia; or to a .

Published in The Tennessean on Oct. 11, 2013