John Paul Avant

Published 4:15pm Tuesday, June 11, 2013

John Paul Avant, 77, of Florence, S.C., passed away on Monday, June 10, 2013, at his residence.
Mr. Avant was born in Equality, the son of the late Olin Avant and Pauline Justice Avant.
He was awarded a full athletic scholarship to play football under Coach Bobby Dodd and graduated from Georgia Tech.
After college he served as a meteorologist for the U.S. Air Force and was deployed in Labrador during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After retiring as plant manager after 25 years at GE, he went on to serve as plant manager at ESAB.
Mr. Avant taught high school physics at the Kings Academy and worked with Florence County and Williamsburg County Economic Development Commissions.
He was a member of the American Legion and the Gideons.
He was a former Deacon at First Baptist Church and a founding Elder at Cornerstone Baptist Church where he taught Sunday School and led a Journey Group which was very dear to his heart.
Mr. Avant devoted his life to serving his Lord, and loving his wife, children and grandchildren.
He was an avid woodworker and loved making memorable gifts for his children and grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his brothers, James Avant and Terry Avant; and his sister, Francis Surles.
Surviving are his wife of 55 years, Barbara Bice Avant; three children, Dr. John Paul (Donna) Avant Jr., Pastor of First Baptist Concord in Knoxville, Tenn.; Dr. Michael (Missy) Avant, Pediatric Intensivist at Greenville (S.C.) Memorial; and Cindy (Alan) Avant Hewitt, Artistic Director at Cornerstone Baptist Church; grandchildren, Christi (Matt) Watson, Amy (Joseph) Daniel, John Paul “Trey” (Brooke) Avant III, Lee Hewitt, Tate Avant, Haley Avant, Tori Hewitt, Julia Hewitt, and Emma Avant; great grandchild William Watson; sister, Annette Fomby; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. EST June 14 at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Burial will follow at 1 p.m. EST at Florence National Cemetery directed by Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home.
Family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. EST June 13 at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cornerstone Baptist Church, 2930 Masters Way, Darlington, SC 29532 or to The Gideons International, P. O. Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214-0800.
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