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John Miller Gayner III ’52

Published in Apr.†18, 1990, issue

JOHNNY GAYNER died Oct. 14, 1987, in St. Vincent's Hospital, Jacksonville, F1a., from complications of severe cardiovascular disease. His funeral was in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Brunswick, Ga., where he had been a vestryman; he was also interred in his hometown, Brunswick.

John blazed his way through life. After service in the Air Force, he compiled the highest grade average recorded at the University of Georgia Law School, gaining election to Phi Beta Kappa and the Gridiron Society. He married Dorothy Nowell in 1954, returned to Brunswick, and joined the law firm of Bennet, Gilbert, Gilbert, and Whittle, becoming a partner in 1960. John served two terms in the Georgia Senate, where he was known as the "constitutional conscience" of the House. John and Dorothy acted and directed regularly in community theatre productions; she died in Sept. 1983.

John's senior roommate, George Garrett, has written this moving remembrance: "To mourn John Gayner, as I do, is to mourn my own spent youth; for some of the finest part of it was in the last couple of years at Princeton when John and I were roommates and close and good friends. We lived in Middle Dod; we both joined Tower Club; we played 150-lb. football together (and John was a very good athlete, maybe the best all-around defensive end I ever saw). We wrote a play together (over a long weekend in N.Y.)‚€”it won second prize in a Theatre Intime contest, and we both played bit pans in it.

"It wasn't planned that way, but I never saw John after graduation. I got married, joined the Army, and we went our separate ways. There were a few letters, not many. There always seemed to be time to catch up‚€”later.

"John had been a gifted young writer, but I don't know if he ever had a chance to write down his stories. If I were to write one about him, and for him, it would have to be the story about all of us, then and there, so long ago, when we must have believed that youth was forever and we were immortal and we could write our own lines and play our own parts. World taught us otherwise, and soon enough. But wasn't it fun to believe it for a while?"

The Class of 1952

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