John Derek Gupton, 24 years old, was born on October 12, 1989, to proud parents Tony and Jackie Gupton of Louisburg, North Carolina. He was a member of Duke Memorial Baptist Church. He graduated from Bunn High School in 2008 and received several achievement awards. In Boy Scouts, he received the Order of the Arrow. John started a grass cutting company. He worked with Franklin Livestock and took great pride in learning about cattle, vaccines, and riding horses to work the cattle. He was a true modern day cowboy. He loved working on computers, was tech savvy, and enjoyed playing games with friends along with hunting and fishing. He was our only son, but friends called him their brother.
John joined the Justice Volunteer Fire Department in 2009. He followed his grandfather and father, who were past members. John served his community with compassion and had a great respect for it, and he had respect from the people in the Justice community.
John loved his country and the history of it. He was proud to be an American. He loved to read and had a wealth of knowledge. He loved to talk and enjoyed a good debate on politics and other topics that anyone would discuss. When it came to work, he gave his all. He was a man beyond his years and a positive influence on his peers.
Quotes from friends:
“John made sure you knew his name the first time you met him. Everyone looked forward to seeing him. His smile was contagious. A go to guy who did not judge you for your problems. He stood by his convictions but listened to others and respected their opinion. He loved to cook and enjoyed cooking for friends. Loved a practical joke never pulled out of meanness, but for the joy of laughter.”
“We don’t get to decide when or how we may leave this world but one thing we do get to decide is how we live while we are here. John chose to live with a smile on his face every day and to make people smile whenever they were around. I hope we can all learn from John’s life and strive to be as happy as he was. Life is far too short to live in constant anger or sorrow. If you didn’t know him, you definitely missed out on a great man and a great friend.”
“John was like cold sweet tea and buttery grits and ‘mater sandwich…the best of the South and the best of America.”
He made the statement one day – He did not have a life story. On September 16, 2014, John’s life story began with becoming a true hero in everyone’s eyes.