Jack Grant, a longtime Sulphur Springs resident and well-known local musician, passed away Thursday morning January 29, 2009 after a brief illness at Hopkins County Memorial Hospital.
Jack was born November 3, 1913 in Old Tarrant to Luther Richard Grant and Mary Lou Blansett. He grew up in Old Tarrant, Hopkins County working with his parents and siblings to farm a small plot of land. He attended Old Tarrant schools and graduated from Sulphur Springs High School in 1932.
After graduation, Jack worked briefly as a driver for Sinclair Oil Company. On June 18, 1938, he married Edna Earle Chapman of Sulphur Springs. He spent the next 40 years as a tire salesman for the Banks Company. All his customers remember Jack’s friendly smile, knowledge of tires, and willingness to help anytime day or night. He retired in 1978 and spent 31 years enjoying music, family and friends.
Jack was a talented musician and highly admired for his uncanny ability to play the tenor saxophone. He started playing musical instruments at the age of 15. He also played the piano in an unorthodox cross-handed style as well as the harmonica. Jack did not read a single note of music and played entirely by ear. Affectionately known as “Jack the Sax” he played with many notable artists including the Big Bopper, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Melody Five and Pat Minter Band. He played as the opening act for the Oak Ridge Boys and Michael-Martin Murphy at the Hopkins County Civic Center in 1990. Long time friend and fellow band member Jerry Mac Lindley fondly remembers Jack’s musical creativity and how he never played a song the same way twice.
Jack “Papa”, was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. He was a great storyteller and listener. The family loved to hear his animated stories, especially those of the Grant Blansett family history, and his vivid recall of lifetime experiences. Those who had the privilege to know him will miss his warm personality, wit and engaging smile.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Vera Pogue and Flo Worsham Smith; brothers, Lee Grant, Gird Grant, Paul Grant and daughter, Pamela Jo Kennedy.
Jack is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 70 years, Edna Earle; sons, Jackie and wife Deanna of Sulphur Springs, Mark and wife Molly of Garland; grandchildren, Jonathan Kennedy and wife April of Sulphur Springs, Jennifer Massey and husband Tom of Sulphur Springs, Jordan Grant of Lubbock, Whitney King and husband Klint of Benbrook, Ethan Grant of San Antonio, and Alexi Jo Grant of Garland; great-grandchildren Trenton Kennedy of Edmund, OK, Chloe Kennedy, Megan and Madeline Massey of Sulphur Springs, Son-in-law, Joe Kennedy and wife Mandy of Sulphur Springs, Brother-in-laws, Harve Chapman, W.S. “Pete” Long, sister-in-law Agnes Chapman and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
Nephews serving as pallbearers are Johnny Chapman, Jim Chapman, Frank Long, Tommy Long, William Howard Long, Gerry Grant, and Joe Worsham.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jerry Mac Lindley, Winston Perkins, Clifford Andersen, Ray Baumgartner, Vaden Richey, Charlie Johnston, Doug Estes, Floyd Nelson, and Dr. Chuck Jones. We would also like to designate all Jack’s musical friends and the 3rd floor physicians and nursing staff as honorary pallbearers.
Visitation will be at West Oaks Funeral Home on Friday, January 30, 2009 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Funeral Services will be held at First Baptist Church, Sulphur Springs on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 11:00 am with Tommy Johnston, and Bill Grant officiating. Burial will follow at Sulphur Springs City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Old Tarrant Cemetery. c/o Nancy Fite 698 FM 2081, Yantis, TX 75497
Arrangements are under the direction of West Oaks Funeral Home.
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