John C. Hopkins

Published 3:11 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2016

FRANKLIN — John Clinkscales Hopkins, 87, passed away on Sept. 20, 2016, at Southampton Memorial Hospital.

He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 22, 1928, to the late William T. Hopkins II and Katharine C. Hopkins, and was also predeceased by his sister, Marie H. Lynch; his first wife, Phyllis Adams Vaughan Hopkins; and his son, William T. Hopkins III.

After his graduation from high school, John went to Miami Beach to be a cabana boy at a large hotel. When he tired of the heat, he put his worldly goods on his motorcycle and drove to Blue Earth, Minnesota, where he worked in the Green Giant facility canning peas. He enlisted in the Navy, went to flight school and was commissioned as an ensign, receiving his wings in 1952. He loved his time as a Navy pilot and traveled extensively. He was proud to be a veteran of the Korean War.

He was discharged from the Navy and went to N.C. State University on the GI Bill where he graduated with honors, despite being a husband and father of two young sons at the time.

John was hired by Union Camp in Franklin in 1958 and worked in the Industrial Engineering Department there until being transferred to Normal, Illinois, to supervise the construction of a new plant. He returned to Franklin when the plant was well established where he worked until his retirement as senior industrial engineer in 1989.

John was a train enthusiast who could feel a train coming from miles away. He spent many hours in train yards watching trains and taking photographs of them. For many years he had a large train layout in his home.

John was active in the community serving as a Boy Scout Leader, a member of the Lions and Hunterdale Ruritan clubs and the United Methodist Men at High Street United Methodist Church where he was a dedicated member. He was instrumental in the establishment of the area United Way and American drives.

John is survived by his wife, Gretchen; two sons, John Hopkins (Nancy) and Vaughan Hopkins (Peggy); daughter-in-law, LouAnne Hopkins; grandchildren, Matt Hopkins (Amanda), Megan Elmore (Jason) and Rachael Hopkins. Also cherishing his memory is his extended family, Stacy, Jennifer, Andy and Brenda and Sam and Katrina Dempsey, and their children, Jake and Tess Pittman, Samantha Gubash, Georgia, Jack and Wilson Dempsey. He loved them as his own.

The family is grateful for his loving caregivers, Jocelyn Adams, Bridget Flythe and Karen Graham.

A celebration of John’s life will be in High Street United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. Burial will be private at Poplar Spring Cemetery.

It is suggested that in lieu of flowers memorial donations be made to High Street United Methodist Church. P.O. Box 218, Franklin, VA 23851.