Funeral services for John T. Gresham, lifelong resident of Centerville, were held Friday, June 8, 2018 at 10 A.M. at the Walters Funeral Home in Centerville, Texas. Lann Gresham Pommerening officiated the service. Interment, with funeral honors provided by the U.S. Army, followed in the Haynie-Gresham Family Cemetery on FM 3 near Marquez, Texas.
Pallbearers: Marc Robinson, Lann Gresham Pommerening, Lynn Gresham Pommerening, Allen Hickman, John Lee Walters, Bill Schreffler
Honorary Pallbearers: Homer Coleman, Bobby Liner, Don Yeates, James O. Hill, Don Payne, Danny Fields, Curtis Neyland, Jr., Louie Thompson, Jr.
John T. Gresham was born April 23, 1919 in Centerville, Texas to Thomas Herbert (Bert T.) and Mattie Jane (Margaret) Dunsworth Gresham. John T. attended Centerville school, was a Boy Scout, and was a member of the first Centerville High School football team in 1935. In fact, he loved football so much that he quit school at the end of the first term his senior year, 1936/37, to come back and play the 1937 season. He graduated in 1938. John T. loved to hunt and fish and spent many hours enjoying these past times. John T. trained in the Civilian Military Training Camp at Fort Bullis, San Antonio, Texas with his good friend Carrol Boykin during the summers of 1936, 37, 38, & 39. After graduation he went to work for Gresham & Son’s Dry Goods Store in 1938.
On June 30, 1940 he married Fonsein Haynie, and he always said that he “had married the most beautiful girl in Leon County.” In 1941, daughter Mary Louise was born, and they purchased the house that they would live in for their entire married life. In August 1942, son John Truitt was born. When Centerville organized a volunteer fire department in 1943 John T. was one of the first volunteer firemen.
In 1944, John T. entered World War II where he fought in the Asian Pacific campaign as a member of the 10th Army, 7th Infantry Division. He fought at Leyte Island in the Philippine liberation and was in the first wave ashore on Okinawa, April 1, 1945. From there he went with the 7th Division to accept the Japanese surrender in Korea, and then to Tokyo where he pulled guard duty while waiting on a flight to return to the United States in November 1945. Once home he went back to work for Gresham & Son’s. In 1946, daughter Sondra Kay was born, completing the family.
In the late 1960’s John T. would go skiing in Colorado for the first time. From that time on he would become an avid and expert skier and went almost yearly, often taking his grandchildren. His last skiing trip would be at the age of 90. John T. would work for Gresham & Son’s along with Fonsein until 1974. In 1974, he went to work for the Texas Department of Corrections at the Ferguson Unit in Midway, Texas. John T. went on to receive his Associate in Applied Science Degree in Correctional Science from Alvin Community College on May 10, 1977. He retired from TDC in 1984. From that time on, John T. was a full time farmer and rancher who enjoyed his cattle, tinkering with old tractors, and gardening. He continued to pursue his lifelong interest of shooting guns, gunsmithing, and reloading bullets. He also enjoyed cutting logs on his sawmill. John T. loved to read and learn. Throughout his life he had a love of history, and he loved to share his knowledge of Leon County and its history with anyone who was interested. Other activities he enjoyed included drinking coffee at the Dairy Queen and Texas Burger with his best friend Homer Coleman, good friend M&M and other gentlemen in Centerville and going to the farm equipment show in Howl, Texas, also with Homer. He was a member of VFW Post 3542 in Jewett, Texas, the American Legion Post 335 in Centerville, Texas, and a member of the Woodman of the World. John T. was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church of Centerville, Texas.
John T. Gresham passed away June 3, 2018 at the age of 99. He is survived by his wife of 78 years, Fonsein Gresham, his 3 children, 10 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren, brother Harry Gresham, sister Leah Frances Petty and best friend Homer Coleman.
Walters Funeral Home in Centerville was in charge of arrangements. www.waltersfuneralhome.com