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Rev. John Hurst McGukin, age 90, of Andalusia, Alabama, passed into his eternal reward in heaven on Monday, October 1, 2018, in Pell City, Alabama.
John McGukin, the son of the late Russell McGukin and Clara Hurst McGukin, was born December 25, 1927. He was raised in the Center Point Community of Carroll County, GA, on a farm originally purchased by his great grandfather, John McGukin, who migrated from Ireland. At the Temple School, he met his future wife, Janie Lou (Jane) Stevens, the daughter of a prominent Temple business owner, and they were married for over 71 years.
John and Jane spent their early married life in Tallapoosa, Georgia, where John worked for Bell Telephone Company and sang (Irish) tenor in a gospel quartet. When the draft came calling, John joined the armed services and served a short stint in the Marines. While stationed in California, he led music at a church and their first child, Joy, was born. Feeling the call into full-time ministry, John brought his family to Fort Worth, Texas, where he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary earning a Master’s Degree in Religious Education. While attending seminary and serving churches in Ennis and Seymour, Texas, their son, Jeff, was born. Following seminary, John and Jane returned to their home state and served a church in Atlanta, Georgia. From there, they served several churches in Alabama, including Ozark (where their second daughter, Jan, was born), Florence, Birmingham, and Mobile, Alabama. After almost 40 years of ministry, John and Jane retired to Andalusia, Alabama to be near their daughter, Joy. John continued serving part-time in Andalusia churches, including Harmony Baptist and his home church, Bethany Baptist. While he never returned to the family farm he loved on McGukin Road in Bremen, Georgia, he replicated his younger life finding fulfillment in raising cows, cultivating a garden, and loving the outdoors.
In many ways, John followed in his mother’s legacy. Clara McGukin was a piano player for her church and instrumental in forming the first Sunday School for the younger members of their church. John wore many hats in the churches he served and worked with all ages from youth through senior adults. Although his primary gifts were in Music, Education, and Administration, he would often be found installing sound systems, cleaning cemeteries, securing buildings, and doing other needed maintenance around the church building. He was the ultimate handyman and he would often invent a device to solve the problem if there were not a solution at hand.
In spite of many hours at the church, John always maintained a beautiful garden with an envious bounty of produce which Jane used to create delicious meals for their family and friends. He will forever be known as an amiable, patient and kind Christian gentleman, a humble leader, content to work behind the scenes, loved by his family, friends, and fellow church members.
He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Jane McGukin of Andalusia; three children: Joy (Carl) Norris of Andalusia, Alabama, Jeff (Donna) McGukin of Birmingham, Alabama, Jan (Jeff) Bergdolt of Prattville, Alabama; 10 grandchildren: Cindy (Dennis) Underwood of Gardendale, Alabama, Carla Skipper of Andalusia, Alabama, Cathy (James) Dowd of Trussville, Alabama, Clara (Tony) Hostetter of Andalusia, Alabama, John (Natalie) McGukin of Lafayette, Colorado, Jared (Amber) McGukin of Warner Robins, Georgia, Joel (Anna) McGukin of Denver, Colorado, Charlie (Michaela) Bergdolt of Auburn, Alabama, Abigail (Will) Connor of Mobile, Alabama, and John David Bergdolt of Auburn, Alabama; two brothers: Gene (Ivy) McGukin and Lester McGukin, great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by older sister, Ruth (Bill) McLaughlin, older brother, Andrew (Sylvia) McGukin, and sister-in-law, Lois McGukin.
The family will receive friends at Bethany Baptist Church, 14632 Heath River Falls Road, Andalusia, AL 36421, on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. for viewing with funeral service to follow at 11:00 a.m. Grandson and namesake, John Micah McGukin, will be officiating. Pallbearers will be friends and fellow church members who served with him at Bethany Baptist Church. Interment will be in the church cemetery at Bethany Baptist Church, 14632 Heath River Falls Road, Andalusia, AL 36421. Keahey Funeral Home of Andalusia is directing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bethany Baptist Church Building Fund.