John Robert Potter, Sr.
July 26, 1936 ~ June 22, 2017
John Robert Potter, Sr., 80, Montreat, North Carolina, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, died on Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wilmington, North Carolina. His beloved wife, Dr. Sandra Johnson (Phillips) Potter, from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, died on January 17, 2013.
John leaves his two sons, John Robert Potter, Jr. and his wife, Shari, of Sweetser, Indiana, and Mike Potter and his wife, Robin, of Indianapolis, Indiana; daughter, Virginia Vermelle (Potter) Carroll and her husband, Patrick Joseph, of Springfield, Virginia; brothers, Richard Potter and his wife, Betty, of Black Mountain, North Carolina, and William Potter and his wife, Mary Jo, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and sister-in-law, Marsha Taylor and her husband, Robert, of Panama City Beach, Florida. “Grandpa Cigar” also leaves nine grandchildren, Michael, Matthew, Katherine, Emily, Alex, James, Sandra June, Lynette, and Aileen, along with three great-grandchildren, Layla, Teodoro, and Mick.
John Potter was born in Florence, South Carolina, on July 26, 1936, the son of the late Dr. Richard Mays Potter and Mrs. Virginia Elfe Zeigler. Known as “Skipper”, he spent his childhood in Charleston, South Carolina, and then later moved to Ridgeville, Indiana, where he graduated from high school. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree at Purdue University and received his Master’s Degree from Indiana University. After his collegiate studies, he taught high school math in Albany, Indiana, and then, following Officer Training School, he received a commission in the United States Air Force. During his career in the U.S. Air Force as a Missile Operations Officer, John Potter served in Thailand during the Vietnam War, as well as a succession of duty stations in the United States: Abilene, Texas; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Panama City, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Baltimore, Maryland; and Grand Forks, North Dakota. He eventually retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
John had a passion for the game of bridge, attaining the distinguished title of Grand Life Master. He also equally enjoyed fishing, reading, cooking, smoking cigars, traveling, solving puzzles, good food and drink, sports and movies, listening to jazz, and chatting with a wide array of friends. During the most recent months, he could often be found sitting on his porch in Montreat, North Carolina, bird-watching and feeding the squirrels and chipmunks, as well as an occasional black bear!
John married Nancy Kay Klinck of Winchester, Indiana, in 1956. They were the proud parents of John, Jr. and Mike. He then married Sandra Johnson Phillips of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1961, and they were the loving parents of Virginia “Ginny” Potter.
A celebration of John Potter’s life will take place on Sunday, August 20, 2017, from 4-7 p.m. at the Que Sera Restaurant in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Family and friends are warmly encouraged to attend to share memories of John’s life, along with great food and drink.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Autism Speaks.