Candler – John “Junior” Medford, Jr., 83, passed away on Saturday, November 9, 2019, at his home.
Junior was a native of Buncombe County and resided in Candler, North Carolina. He was the son of the late John, Sr. and Edna Rice Medford. Junior was preceded in death by his loving wife, Georgia “Penny” Medford; and two brothers, Larry and Steve Medford. As a young child, it was apparent Junior would mature into a gifted leader. Due to an unforeseen sickness of his mother, it was Junior’s responsibility to care for his six siblings at the young age of ten. He never complained, but quietly prepared assumed the role as a caregiver. To have this responsibility at such an early age, translated into an ability to handle a variety of challenges in life. Junior’s outlet was athletics. As a young man in high school, Junior would walk all the way from his home in Woodfin to Erwin High School any time there was practice, walking several miles in each direction. He was a prolific basketball, baseball and football player at Blue Ridge School for Boys and Erwin High School. Upon graduation, Junior enlisted in the Army and was stationed at Honolulu’s Schofield Army Post. There, he would become a pitching legend, playing for the 21st Infantry Gimlets’. He received a certificate of merit for his athletic endeavors. Becoming the 21st one of Infantry Gimlets’ all-time greatest athletes. He shined in baseball, where in 1960 he won 18 games and lost six, struck out 197 batters in 178 innings. Junior also held a .306 batting average and was selected to the First Team All-Stars in 1960. Junior played fast-pitch softball well into his 50’s, never losing that love to compete.
John is survived by his only son and best friend, Jody Medford, of Enka Village; one sister, Helen Reese, and her husband, Mitch, of Asheville; and three brothers, Horace, Jimmy and Bobby Medford, all of Asheville.
The care of Mr. Medford has been entrusted to Forest Lawn Funeral Home and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.forestlawnfuneral.com.
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