Obituary for John Shoemaker – Tallahassee, FL

John “Jack” Francis Shoemaker was born October 7, 1925 in Mont Clare, PA and died March 2, 2021 in Gainesville, FL. His parents were Paul Shoemaker and Anna Meklos Shoemaker of Phoenixville, PA. Jack was a widower (Frances) and had four children: Rick Shoemaker, Suzanne Shoemaker Hill (deceased), Tom Shoemaker, and Sally Shoemaker Scott (Randy). His grandchildren are Rebecca Hill Turner (Wade), Kate Hill Russell (Josh), Zack Scott, Austin Scott, and Ben Scott. His great-grandchildren are Logan Turner, Blake Turner (deceased), Ryleigh Turner, Savannah Russell, and Kennedy Russell. His siblings are Paul “Lefty” Shoemaker (Helen) and Patricia Gnias (Dan), and his niece Judy Krassowki and nephews Paul Shoemaker (Nancy), Daniel Gnias (deceased), David Gnias (Cindy), and Dennis Gnias (Beth). Jack grew up during the Depression, which shaped his views on saving money, and after high school he decided to join the Army. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 87th Infantry Regiment in WWII and was awarded the Purple Heart during the Battle of the Bulge. He also received a Bronze Star for valor during the Rhineland Campaign. Jack always wondered why he survived the war when so many others did not, which made him appreciate the life he was given and live it well. After the Army, he attended UF on the GI Bill and was active in Sigma Nu, Florida Blue Key, and many other organizations. A highlight was serving as editor of the Florida Alligator, which sparked his lifelong interest in journalism and writing, including sportswriting for the Florida Freshwater and Game Commission as well as writing his life story, which is cherished by family and friends. His first job after college was as publicity director for the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. Jack then moved to Tallahassee where he worked for the State Legislature and then for the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. In Tallahassee, Jack met Frances White and soon they were married. After starting a family, he and Fran decided he would go to law school at age 40 and he graduated from Cumberland School of Law. He was very proud of his time in the military and a highlight was an honor flight to Washington, DC in 2013. He worked hard to provide for his family and raised his children in Tallahassee with his wife Fran. Jack was very generous with his time and resources and was very active in many organizations. After retiring from the Florida State Department of Agriculture, he loved gardening and shared many vegetables with family and friends each year. Jack's Catholic faith was very important to him and he was a very involved member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church for a long time where he was 4th Degree and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. He was very active in the men's group and always counted on selling the most fundraising tickets at each event. He always had a smile on his face and many friends. Many counted on Jack to “get things done and get them done well.” Participating in the Boy Scouts as a youth and as an adult leader was very important to him. He learned many skills that helped him in combat and in life. Another highlight was traveling to Philmont with his son Tom. He lived his life to the fullest, enjoying time on the golf course with his many golf buddies, going to many Gator games, spending time at Alligator Point with family and friends, and traveling the world when he could. Some of his favorite trips took him to Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Scandinavia, and China. He taught his children and grandchildren many life lessons and always took the time to share a story or a lesson he learned. He moved to Gainesville in 2018 to be closer to his daughter Sally and her family. He will be remembered and missed by many. A Catholic Mass will be held on March 20, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. In-person attendance at 50% capacity with masks permitted and the service will also be streamed via

Anna Harden

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *