John Martin Gorrie
November 6, 1937 – March 20, 2020
John Martin Gorrie (“Johnny”) was born in Birmingham, AL on November 6, 1937. He passed away peacefully in his Montgomery, AL home on March 20, 2020.
Johnny was the second son of Magnus James Gorrie (1905 – 1991) and Margaret Miller Gorrie (1912 – 1995). Johnny had an older brother, by two years, Magnus Miller Gorrie. Johnny was married for forty-nine years to Gail Erskine Gorrie. They had one son, John Magnus, who lives in Georgia with his wife Patricia.
Johnny grew up in Birmingham, AL, except for three years when he lived in New Jersey (1943-1946). His father, a salesman with IBM, was transferred to New York. Returning to Birmingham in 1946, he attended Lakeview Grammar School, and then Shades Valley High School. As a sophomore, he was elected Vice-President of his class of about 350 students.
Johnny was a gifted athlete, often competing with his older brother’s peers. Johnny’s high school football coach tried to convince Johnny to play football, but his mother and his piano teacher intervened, convincing him that sports would interfere with his development as a classically trained pianist (he had begun taking lessons as a young child). Johnny focused intently on his piano studies and became an accomplished performer and composer.
Although from Birmingham, Montgomery was Johnny’s (and his brother Miller’s) second home. Their grandparents and their three unmarried aunts, Rachel, Evelyn (Sue), and Margaret Gorrie lived there. Since his aunts had no children, they doted on Johnny and Miller and enjoyed visiting with them over summers.
Upon graduation from high school, Johnny attended Auburn University for one year. He later attended Birmingham Southern College while living at home. Due to a health problem, Johnny left Birmingham Southern and later moved to Montgomery where his aunts welcomed him with open arms. He then attended Huntingdon College where he met his future wife Gail and settled permanently in Montgomery.
Johnny further developed his mastery of the piano under the tutelage of Huntingdon College’s German-born musical prodigy and professor, Harald Rohlig. Johnny continued his piano lessons and friendship with Harald for decades, during which they collaborated on many of Johnny’s compositions, including an opera. Throughout the years, Johnny enjoyed playing piano in several local venues and restaurants in Montgomery. In the 1980’s, Johnny developed an affinity for painting using vivid colors and exotic landscapes. His artwork was presented in numerous galleries and local establishments. Johnny also greatly enjoyed writing literature, prose, and short stories.
Johnny was a gregarious, kind, and loving person who loved to tell jokes and actively celebrated life. People from all walks of life were drawn to his engaging and generous personality. In his later years, he spent many hours at a local coffee shop where he would display his paintings, practice on his piano keyboard, and work on his opera. He acquired many friends there who would stop by to discuss his paintings, or whatever artistic endeavor he was currently pursuing.
- John Gorrie's Artist website
- Visitation Tuesday, March 24, 2020
- Graveside Tuesday, March 24, 2020
John Martin Gorrie
March 24, 2020
We were best of friends for many years. As my college roommate, Johnny was funny and very intelligent. He was a brilliant pianist, and though he loved classical music, he would comply with my request for “HonkyTonk” too. I can see him now wearing my slippers and heading for the frat kitchen to cook up a meal after midnight, I miss you my friend until we meet again in Heaven, I’ll be seeing you in my minds eye. Love, Allen