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Official Obituary of

John Thomas Shields

July 13, 1935 ~ March 4, 2024 (age 88) 88 Years Old

John Shields Obituary

John Thomas Shields, of Florence, left this earth to join his Heavenly Father on March 4, 2024.

John was preceded in death by the love of his life, his wife of 66 years. Janet (Jan) Shields his son, John Shields, Jr., brothers Lynn Wilhite, Fon Wilhite, and sister Mary Ann Wilhite.

John is survived by son, Larry Shields (Michele); daughter, Patricia Chandler (J.D.); and son, Craig Shields (Marchelle); six grandchildren, Abby Grace, SueEllen, William, Ashlee, Jason, Adam, and thirteen great-grandchildren.

John was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He was a faithful Christian, and a generous soul who loved helping others and being with family and friends.  John was deeply involved in the lives of his children, grandchildren, and friends and led by example.

John was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and grew up on a family farm in rural Kentucky.  On the night of John’s high school graduation, he left the ceremony, went back to the farm and worked driving a tractor until 2 AM.  John’s farm background led to a career in service to help develop fertilizers and agricultural practices to assist farmers in crop production not just in this country but in many poorer developing nations across the world.

 John was a justly proud veteran of the United States Air Force.  It was during his Air Force service that John met and married his wife Jan.  John remained devoted to Jan until and after Jan’s death. After John’s service in the Air Force, he attended the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he earned a B.S. degree in Industrial/Agricultural Engineering and an M.S. degree in Economics and Marketing. All that accomplished, while he and Jan worked and were raising a son.  John was a lifelong Kentucky Wildcat sports fan, supporting the Cats through great seasons and bad seasons.

Upon graduation from UK, John accepted an entry level position with TVA in Muscle Shoals and the family moved to Florence.  John quickly embraced the Shoals area as his new home. John became actively engaged in the community serving in numerous church activities, in several civic clubs including The Exchange Club, Optimist Club and for the last several years the Greater Shoals Rotary Club, and the Boy Scouts.   He was involved in volunteer work for local causes too numerous to list.  John and Jan lead several Bible study groups in their home over the years.  John loved sports and played on a number of Recreation and Church league softball and basketball teams and was an avid golfer playing well into his later years.

John worked his way up the ranks at TVA’s National Fertilizer Development and Environmental Research Center (NFERC) and retired as the Vice President and Manager of NFERC.   During his career with TVA, John traveled to more than 40 different countries helping to advance agriculture around the globe.  After TVA, John worked as President of the Alabama Technology Network (ATN) helping grow small businesses in Alabama.  After 10 years at ATN, John retired but then went back to work as Interim Director of the International Fertilizer Development Center in Muscle Shoals for a few years.

John was a very respected and humble man who received numerous awards for his service and accomplishments over the years but would never boast or brag.   John would not have wanted this much written about himself but we, his family, want to share his life with others.

Visitation will be Thursday, March 7, 2-3 PM at First United Methodist Church in Florence, Alabama, followed by a Celebration of Life at 3 PM. Officiating will be Terry Stubblefield.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Thomas Shields, please visit our floral store.

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Services

Visitation
Thursday
March 7, 2024

2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
415 N Seminary Street
Florence, AL 35630

Funeral Service
Thursday
March 7, 2024

3:00 PM
First United Methodist Church
415 N Seminary Street
Florence, AL 35630

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