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Dr. John Carlton French, Sr.

November 2, 1930 ~ May 11, 2023 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Dr. John French, Sr. Obituary

Dr. John Carlton French, Sr, age 92, of Newnan, Georgia died Thursday afternoon, May 11th at Wesley Woods of Newnan. The graveside service will be Saturday, May 20th at 10:30am at Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery. Pastor Dr. Tripp Martin of Auburn First Baptist Church will officiate the service.

John was born on November 2, 1930, in Samson, Geneva County, Alabama, to Grover Roscoe French and Willie Pearl White French. John was married to the former Georgia Rebecca “Becky” Hesterley on August 24, 1957, at the First Baptist Church in Cullman, Alabama. John and Becky celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 24, 2007, prior to Becky’s passing on September 20, 2007.

John graduated from Samson High School in 1949. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Auburn University in 1953 and a Master of Science in Entomology with a minor in Zoology from Auburn University in 1959. John also received a Ph. D. in Entomology with a minor in Agronomy from Clemson University in 1971.

John served in the United States Army from September 10, 1953, to June 30, 1955, where he was stationed in Austria. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Army Occupation Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. 

In his professional career, John worked for the University of Missouri, the University of Georgia, Clemson University, and Auburn University. Dr. French served as Head of Extension Pest Management at Auburn University and retired on February 28, 1991, as Professor Emeritus from Auburn University after 35.5 years of service as an entomologist. At the time of his retirement, he was considered to be one of the top extension entomologists in the country.

John became a Christian and was baptized as a young boy at the First Baptist Church in Samson, Alabama. He was active in a local church in the various communities where he lived in Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, and South Carolina. John was an ordained deacon and a member of the Auburn First Baptist Church, where he served in various ministries. 

John had many diverse interests. At the top of the list was being there for his family and spending time with them. His generosity benefited the lives of those he loved and many charitable organizations. Sports were a big part of his life, whether playing, officiating, or simply watching. At Samson High, he earned 11 sport letters and was a pitcher at Auburn University for the freshman baseball team. His love of sports continued throughout his life, especially his love for the Auburn Tigers. John enjoyed hunting, fishing, and gardening. His home-grown roses brought joy to many. He also enjoyed genealogy, playing cards, and traveling. His travels took him to numerous countries around the globe and to 49 U.S. states.

Dr. French is survived by his four children, Rebecca Leigh “Leigh” Maguire and her husband Jim of Spring, TX, John Carlton “Jay” French, Jr. and his wife Nina of Newnan, GA, Lisa French Barrett and her husband Bobby of Auburn, AL, and Jeffrey Clifford “Jeff” French and his wife Laura of Peachtree City, GA, nine grandchildren, Christine Cosby, Chris Cosby and his wife Amanda, Carlton French, Caroline French, Courtney French, Ashley Barrett Pugh and her husband Michael, Trip Barrett, Ben Barrett and his wife Hannah, and Rachel French, and four great-grandchildren Tripp, Collins, Olive, and Ella Grey. Other surviving relatives are his sisters, Joyce French Wise and Suzanne French Burdeshaw and her husband Edward and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Auburn First Baptist Church Benevolence Fund.

Higgins Funeral Home Hillcrest Chapel is honored to serve the family of Dr. French, please visit to share your memories or leave a condolence message.

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Graveside Service
May 20, 2023

10:30 AM
Auburn Memorial Park Cemetery
1000 E Samford Ave
Auburn, AL 36830


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