John Outlaw
John Outlaw

Obituary of John Outlaw

JOHNNY OUTLAW, THE FLORIDA CRACKER COWBOY WITH A BARNYARD EDUCATION passes away.

John William Outlaw (J. W.) died Wednesday, January 25, at Ocala Regional Medical Center, from complications following an automobile accident January 19, 2017. He was 95.

Born in Center Hill, Florida, March 5, 1921, to Hammitt D. Outlaw, Sr. and Daisy Young Outlaw, he attended Webster schools, graduating from the high school there in 1941.

John or “Johnny” as he would introduce himself, entered the United States Army in August 1942, and was attached to B Battery, 244th Field Artillery Battalion at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and Fort Benning, Georgia. From the military operations center in England, he was issued a jeep which he drove onto an LST there and then later drove off the LST when it landed on Normandy Beach in France 54 days after the invasion. At issue, the jeep had 17 miles on the odometer; eleven months later he turned the jeep in with a reading of 17,000 miles. He often said, “My hat is off to anyone who lived through that invasion.” John received the Good Conduct Medal and five battle stars for action in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. Corporal (Tech 5) Outlaw mustered out of the Army in late l945. While John could not bring himself to participate in the Honor Flights to Washington, DC, he thoughtfully retraced his military steps in Dachau and Cham, Germany during a trip in 1987, while visiting his daughter Susan and son-in-law Ben who was 3ID Family Life Chaplain, Würzburg.

Following his military service, Johnny settled into the process of acquiring land and beginning a farming/ranch operation in Sumter County. At the age of 29, he met his wife-to-be, Almarene Woodard, at a Baptist Training Union Seminar in Bushnell; they were married in September 1951, and moved into a cabin John built on his property in Mabel. To supplement the rising farming/ranch business, he worked variously for B & W Canning Company, Groveland; Florida Rock, Center Hill; and Florida Forestry, Richloam. Along the journey, he also drove a school bus for the Sumter County Schools. After retirement, they moved to Inverness in 1981.

In retirement, he and Almarene enjoyed traveling, woodworking and various crafting projects; they participated in craft fairs and seminars in which they demonstrated their work. Johnny especially enjoyed storytelling about old times and was an authentic Florida Cracker. He was an expert platter of bull whips, selling them to “cowboys” throughout the state as well as donating them for auction at various fund-raising events such as the annual Linden Cemetery Picnic. For anyone who called to purchase a whip, Johnny set an appointment and advised the person they would need to sit for a spell to reminisce about old times before the sale could be completed. No one ever turned him down. And, always included in his comments about his life, was the fact that he had only a “barnyard education” even though he was a graduate of Webster High School. Without doubt, as he himself claimed, he was The Florida Cracker Cowboy with a Barnyard Education.

He was predeceased by his wife of 55 years, Almarene; parents, Hammit and Daisy Outlaw, sisters Myrtle Iley, Bernice Worn, Daisy Day, and Evalena Burnett; brothers Robert and Hammit Jr.; sisters-in-law Delma Huff Saggus, Doris Woodward, Frances Hall Nistendirk; brothers-in-law Floyd Woodard, Edwin Woodard, Lester Woodard, and Mark Woodard.

He is survived by his daughters, Dr. Mary E. Outlaw of Armuchee, GA, and Rev. Susan Outlaw Stallings and son-in-law Chaplain (Maj/Ret) Ben Stallings, Terre Haute, IN; grandson Jordan Outlaw Stallings and granddaughter-in-law MaryAnn Havener Stallings of Paris, IL; niece and caregiver Marsha Woodard Perkins and husband Steve, nephew Kenny Woodard, all of Bushnell, FL, sister-in-law Pauline Outlaw of Center Hill, FL; and a host of additional nieces and nephews, numerous cherished friends and acquaintances.

He was an active member of Linden Baptist Church until 1981; following the move to Inverness, he united with the First Baptist Church, Inverness where he enjoyed regular Sunday School and church attendance until his recent move to live with his niece, Marsha.

Purcell Funeral Home, Bushnell, in charge of arrangements. In lieu of flowers, and because of our Dad’s tender concerns for Vietnam Veterans, the family suggests contributions be made to Vietnam Veterans of America, Florida State Council at http://www.vvafsc.org/donations/support-vva-fsc or Treasurer FSC, Vietnam Veterans of America, P.O. Box 331322, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233-1322.

Burial in the National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida.