John Elbert Inman, the fifth child of Herman B. and Minnie Louise Ferrell Inman, passed away on Friday, August 17, 2012 at Helen Keller Memorial Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama. He was 90 years old.
Born June 5, 1922 in Kingfield (Williamson County), Tennessee he joined siblings: Jasper Clifton, Alma Lee, Herman Edward and Eula Mai Inman.
His mother, Minnie Inman, age 32, died when John was four years old. In 1930, when John was eight years old his father, Herman, a steel worker, fell from scaffolding on a job in Nashville, Tennessee. Injuries led to his death, leaving behind five children under the ages of 18. Family stepped in and took care of the children until Jasper, the oldest brother, died from a hunting accident at his Grandfather Ferrell’s farm in 1931. The remaining children were taken to an orphanage at Spring Hill, Tennessee.
A couple nicknamed Uncle Marvin and Aunt Lola took Ed, John and Eula to their farm in Minor Hill and raised them until they graduated from high school. During those years with Uncle Marvin and Aunt Lola, John attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse, which converted into Mt. Zion Church of Christ for worship on Sundays. He graduated from Minor Hill High School and enrolled at Vanderbilt University.
After Pearl Harbor, John enlisted in the United States Navy and served in the Pacific during WW II. Chosen as one of only eight or ten, John was trained as a special Japanese code interceptor.
Following the war, John began a career working for Sherwin William’s in Nashville. After transferring the Florance, Alabama store, he met and married the love of his life, Frances Archer. After thirty years with Sherwin William’s, he retired and opened Inman’s Paint Store, in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Always greeting customers with a smile and a joke, John owned the store for ten years until he retired a second time.
John and Frances resided in Tuscumbia until 2008 when they downsized and moved to Sheffield. Before the move, they harvested fruit and vegetables from the large garden and fruit orchid behind their home. They welcomed strays to their home and enlisted horses, dogs and cats to their fold. Neighborhood children often knocked at their back door asking to play Pollyanna with Frances and watch baseball games on TV with John.
High school sports captured John’s interest and he and Frances attended many Friday night football games at Deshler High School, as Frances was an alumna. John followed sports, especially for Vanderbilt, University of Alabama and the Atlanta Braves.
His parents, brothers and sisters predeceased John. He is survived by nieces and nephews Dorothy Mayberry Constant (Cecil), Hershel Mayberry (Carol), Susan Kay Dixon McCuiston, and Barbara Ellen Dixon Askew from Tennessee; as well as Jesse V. Boyles III (Pidge) and William A. Boyles (Laura) and their families in Florida.
Visitation will be Monday, August 20, 2012 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at Morrison Funeral Home, Tuscumbia. The funeral service will follow at 3:00 p.m. in the funeral home chapel with Ed White officiating. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery, Tuscumbia. Pallbearers will be J.R. Brown, Robert Graham, Bryce Graham and Tommy Peters.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Valdosta Church of Christ, 119 Old Lee Highway, Tuscumbia, Alabama 35674.