Dr. Jack McEwen dies at 84: lifetime "love of learning"
Obituary from Chattanooga Funeral Home:
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Jack H. McEwen died on Monday, December 5, 2011. He was 84.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Joel and Lydia Fitch McEwen of Springfield, Mo., and his sisters and brothers: Kenneth, Joe Bill, Arch, Kermit, Dorothy Grubbs and Margaret Gunther.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, June Holland McEwen, and by his daughter and son-in-law, Melanie McEwen Dover and Randall W. K. Dover, their daughters, Emily Holland Dover and Rebecca Warren Dover, and his son and daughter-in-law, Jack Jeffrey McEwen and Meredith Wagnon McEwen, their sons, Sean Joseph Jackson McEwen and Austin Nicklaus McEwen, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Dr. McEwen was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up in Springfield, Mo. Portions of his adult life were spent in Chicago, Texas and Kentucky. Most of his last 50 years were in Chattanooga.
His love for learning led him to earn five degrees, including a doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. His enthusiasm for travel took him to all 50 states and more than 60 countries of the world. He loved Europe and traveled extensively in Africa, South America, Japan, and China.
Dr. McEwen was pastor of several churches in the Chattanooga area, including First Baptist Church of Chattanooga in the 70s and 80s where he was pastor emeritus.
He taught at the University of Chattanooga/the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the 60s and 70s. He was an academic dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1980-83 and at Chattanooga State from 1983 to 1998.
Dr. McEwen's community service included general chairman of United Way, president of the Chattanooga Rotary Club, the boards of the downtown YMCA, Carson Newman College, Juvenile Court, Memorial Hospital and other agencies and institutions.
Among Dr. McEwen's honors and recognitions, he was named Citizen of the Year by Chattanooga Kiwanis Club in 1996. He loved the outdoors and spent many happy days in north Georgia in a wooded site by Red Fox Lake. Tending and trimming the wild was a rewarding and pleasant pastime over the years.
In demand as a public speaker, he made as many as 200 speeches a year from Chattanooga to both the East and West Coasts. His addresses were noted for meaning and laughter. He was known for his ability to quote extensive passages from the Bible and a wide range of poetry.
During his last few months he shared with visitors a Wendell Berry poem he loved.
I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.
A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, December 10, at First Baptist Church of Chattanooga at 3 p.m. with Dr. Thomas Quisenberry and Dr. Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez officiating.
The family will receive friends following the service at a reception in the fellowship hall at the church.
Memorials may be made to the following in memory of Dr. Jack H. McEwen: First Baptist Church, 401 Gateway Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37405; United Way of Greater Chattanooga, 630 Market St., Chattanooga, Tn. 37405; the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 615 McCallie Ave., Dept. 6806, Chattanooga, Tn. 37403; or Chattanooga State Community College, Jack H. McEwen Scholarship, 4501 Amnicola Hwy., Chattanooga, Tn. 37406.
Arrangements are by the East Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 404 South Moore Road.
Please share your condolences at www.chattanoogaeastchapel.com.