Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Jack Meshach Johns
Jack was the son of the late Walter C. and Grace (Frost) Johns, was born November 24, 1938, in Morgantown. A 1956 graduate of Morgantown High School, he began his radio career in 1958 while studying at West Virginia University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1960 and a master’s degree in 1974 from the WVU School of Journalism. He served his country in the United States Army Reserve as a Staff Sergeant for seven years, receiving an honorable discharge in 1967.
Jack was employed by WCLG Radio for 11 years (1958-1969). He also wrote news reports for WAJR Radio for two years. At WCLG, he served as an announcer and news director. As news director, he helped establish the first mobile news unit in Morgantown. Jack was the first radio newsman in the nation to report on the Farmington Mine Disaster in 1968; he was honored by the Associated Press for his coverage of that tragedy.
He then joined the WVU Extension Service as a radio specialist. During his 28-year career there, he was probably best known for “Outreach Review,” a weekly interview program carried by 51 radio stations in West Virginia and surrounding states for many years. Jack especially enjoyed interviewing young people participating in State 4-H Roundups. He received a national award from the American Association of Agricultural College Editors for producing the best radio program at a land-grant university.
During his 28-year WVU career, he wrote a book that was used to train Extension county agents to use radio broadcasts in their work. Jack was named the 1978-79 Outstanding Teacher in the Center for Extension and Continuing Education. When he retired as a radio-television specialist in 1996, he held the rank of Extension Associate Professor.
Jack’s voice was heard at many local events. In 1980, he became the “Voice of the Mohigans” for the MHS football and boys’ basketball teams, as well as many other athletic events and served on various athletic committees. A year later, he started announcing MHS band performances, for which he adored. He would typically follow the band to away football games to announce their half-time performance. Every September, for many years, he would announce the MHS Band Spectacular and the Buckwheat Festival Band Spectacular. Also, in 1981, he began a 17-year run as the announcer for the WVU women’s basketball games. He also served as the press box announcer for the WVU Mountaineer football team at Mountaineer Field for 13 years. When Heinz Field was being built, the Pittsburgh Steelers came to Mountaineer field, where he was the PA announcer.
His local honors include the Proficiency Award from the Morgantown Touchdown Club and the Zackquill Morgan Award as Communicator of the Century (given only to a Morgantown native). The Barons Hockey League honored him in 1989 for serving as the announcer during the Morgantown hockey season and for the state championship hockey game played at the Morgantown Ice Rink.
After retiring from WVU, he became a substitute teacher at Morgantown High School. Jack loved MHS, loved working with the teachers and loved what he deemed ‘his kids’. He always spoke to every student, encouraging them to do their best for their future. Jack volunteered for his alma mater, including many hours helping organize reunions of his graduating class of 1956. His MHS legacy includes writing biographies of more than 60 Athletic Hall of Fame honorees. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 for his service as the “Voice” of various Mohigans’ sports teams and events.
Jack was a member of Spruce Street United Methodist Church, for which he was dedicated for almost 60 years. He was a faithful servant of God, serving on every Church committee, lay reading many Sundays, occasionally delivering the weeks message to the congregation (and other churches in the community) and teaching the Adult Fellowship Sunday School Class for over 40 years. He loved God and never missed a chance to invite people to his class.
Jack was a devoted husband of 54 years, a supportive and loving father and a wonderful Grandfather. He was always actively involved in his children’s activities through coaching, announcing events, chaperoning trips, and any other way he could contribute. His wife and his children were his best friends and he dedicated his life to spending time with and loving them. Jack loved and cherished time with his Granddaughters Addie and Mackenzie. He loved sending cards of encouragement or clippings from the newspaper to friends. Jack never knew a stranger and had the innate ability to make people laugh. Jack loved his Morgantown community and enjoyed volunteering in many aspects including serving at the voting poles for many years. His positivity and friendliness was ever present, and he was someone who sincerely cared about everyone. He will be missed and forever loved by his family and countless friends whom he considered extended family.
Jack was preceded in death by his Mother Grace (Frost) Johns, his Father Walter Johns and his brother Creighton Johns. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Barbara (Whisler) Johns; his son, Brian Johns and his daughter and son-in-law, Beverly and Leo W. Sanders; granddaughters, Addison Spooner and Mackenzie Johns; several cousins; and multiple nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the excellent care Jack received at the WVU Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center and from Amedysis Hospice.
Family and friends will be received at Hastings Funeral Home, 153 Spruce Street, Morgantown, on Friday, November 9th from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Visitation will continue on Sunday, November 11th at Spruce Street United Methodist Church, 386 Spruce Street, from 1:30 p.m. until the time of service at 2:30 p.m. with Pastor Neil Leftwich officiating. Interment will follow at Pleasant Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made his Jack’s memory to Spruce St. United Methodist Church, 386 Spruce St. Morgantown, WV 26505.
Send condolences online at www.hastingsfuneralhome.com