John Preston Fletcher
December 22, 1928 – January 6, 2021
John Preston “Jack” Fletcher, 92, passed away on January 6, 2021, in Columbia, SC.
Jack was born in 1928 in Lexington, Kentucky to Walter Ballard Fletcher and Mabel Jackson Fletcher, the middle of three boys. Jack excelled in school, graduated high school early, and enrolled in the University of Kentucky, where he earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees in chemistry. It was in Lexington that Jack met and married the love of his life, Marilyn Miller, in 1952. Jack and Marilyn made their home in South Charleston, West Virginia, where he worked as an analytical chemist and developmental scientist for Union Carbide until his retirement in 1990. Jack and Marilyn raised two daughters, Jackie and Nancy, in South Charleston.
In Charleston, Jack was active in the Baptist Temple, where he studied the writings of Paul Tillich, taught Sunday school to junior high school youths, and participated in couples worship groups. From an early age, Jack had an extraordinary musical talent, and besides his family, playing his trombone was his greatest joy. As a teenager, he toured the country playing in clubs and venues with nationally-known jazz musicians. At the University of Kentucky, jazz was banned after students were “caught” playing in bars. Nonetheless, Jack and others laid the groundwork for making jazz a respected genre at the University. He played in multiple jazz, Dixieland and big bands and combos over his lifetime, including Men of Note, the Charleston Jazz Band, and the Fred Nimmer Orchestra. In West Virginia he played trombone for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston Light Opera Guild orchestra, and performed in church for special concerts.
Upon their retirement, Jack and Marilyn moved to Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, SC, where he continued playing in jazz, Dixieland and big bands both within Sun City and on Hilton Head. He also sang in the Sun City Chorus and sang in and played bells in the Lowcountry Presbyterian Church choir. In 2011 they moved to Wildewood Downs in Columbia, SC where he attended Northeast Presbyterian Church, occasionally playing trombone for church concerts. He entertained Wildewood Downs residents with his trombone playing until he was 90 years old.
The family is grateful to Quana Bradley for the loving care and companionship she provided to Jack following his dementia diagnosis.
Known to all for his infectious laugh, his love of music, dancing, and bridge, and his unfailingly positive outlook on life, Jack above all will be remembered as a loyal and devoted family man, to his wife for almost 69 years and to their daughters. Jackie and Nancy feel blessed to have had his constant, unconditional love and support.
Jack was predeceased by his beloved wife Marilyn (who passed just four days prior), and his brother Walter Ballard Fletcher, Jr. and sister-in-law Estella Conley Fletcher of Tucson, AZ. He is survived by his daughters Jackie Fletcher Breland of Columbia, SC and Nancy Fletcher Lowe of Cary, NC, sons-in-law Edwin Breland and Quinn Lowe, grandson Colin Lowe of Chapel Hill, NC, brother William Franklin Fletcher and sister-in-law Allene Bach Fletcher of Lexington, KY, brother-in-law James Kenneth “Ken” Miller and sister-in-law Beverly Carroll Miller of Muncie, IN, and nieces and nephews Walter B. Fletcher, III, Lenna Kay Fletcher, Phillip Wayne Fletcher, Laura Jo Fletcher, Jennifer Fletcher Nagle, William F. Fletcher, Jr., Ellen Miller Chauvin, and James Chadwick “Chad” Miller.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
John Preston Fletcher
Mary Beth Beasley
January 7, 2021
Mr Fletcher, respectfully as I was a child, being good friends with Jackie, brings to mind from those good ‘ole days, sweet memories of his heartfelt laugh and joyful eyes. One memory is driving Jackie and I around in the VW Beetle in our neighborhood and letting us stand up and sing songs joyously through the sunroof. We had such happy times and I always remember his serenades on his trombone. He was such the fun dad and special dad. His joi de vie was beyond compare. God rest his soul. I think he is playing that trombone again somewhere out there.