John Robert Harpole is now in heaven sitting with God and all his family and friends who’ve gone before him. He passed away May 15, 2020. He was born December 31, 1936 to the late Woodrow Wilson and Vera Mae Harpole of Pheaba, Mississippi and after high school attended East Mississippi Junior College. It was there that he met the love of his life, Shirley Sue Harpole, and that devotion was nurtured over the 65 years they were married. In their early years as a couple, they lived in Anaheim where he worked and went to school until a longing to return South brought them back to small town Scooba, Mississippi. There they lived, raised their family and were part of a caring community we now refer to as the “village” needed to raise children. He was an entrepreneur until he was recruited to teach in the Vocational Education program at his alma mater, East Mississippi Junior College, and went back to Mississippi State to continue his education. While he was often described as a pillar of the community because of leadership positions he assumed at Scooba Baptist Church, Masonic Lodge, Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Town and School Boards and others, he was a humble servant, strong, generous, kind and quick to put others at ease with a natural warmth and smile that showed them he thought they were important. His sense of humor and southernisms will always be remembered. While never shying away from discussions on politics, they almost always ended with his final words, “oh well, God will sort it all out.” Years after his retirement, students would come visit to share their deep gratitude for the things he taught them in and out of the classroom and to share their successes with him. What he coveted most was family, faith, church and a good quail, turkey or deer hunt. He was always a fixture at his children’s, grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s ballgames, plays and programs. He made each feel that his deep love for them was unique and special and that he believed they could do anything they set their mind to, but to always remember to honor God in their choices. His favorite times were spent on long Saturday or Sunday afternoons grilling and playing with the children, sharing stories and laughter with his family. John leaves behind all those who cherish him: his loving wife Shirley Sue Harpole of Scooba, daughter Sue (Susie) Harpole and son-in-law Nelson Strother and their daughter Virginia Strother from Memphis, Tennessee; his son John (Johnny) Harpole and daughter-in-law Emily Harpole from Gallatin, Tennessee and Johnny’s children Amanda Harpole Snowden and her husband Devin Snowden and their children Grey and Giles from Meridian, Mississippi, Jessica Harpole and her husband Jake Hand and their children Colby and Carson from Columbus, Mississippi and Samantha Harpole Moore and her husband Trenton Moore and their children Madison and Allison from Flowood, Mississippi. He also leaves his sister Alice Faye Nault and brother-in-law Don Nault from Birmingham, Alabama, his brother Woodrow Wilson Harpole, Jr. from Corona, California and his brother Tom Harpole and his sister-in-law Gayle from Anza, California. Also his in-laws Faye Suttle of Louisville, Mississippi and Betty Graham of DeKalb, Mississippi, and Nancy Baty of Gulf Port, Mississippi and many nephews, nieces, cousins and friends. Given the current circumstances, a private ceremony will be held at graveside. The family asks that you honor John by being a blessing in someone’s life today, and in lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Honors and Memorials Program, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105 or by going to st.jude.org/memorials where a named fund has been created in his honor.
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