John F. Hash, of Wilsall, Montana, and formerly of Gulfport, MS, died on May 14, 2014, in Birmingham, Alabama after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary, and by his parents, Lucy and John W. Hash. He is survived by his wife, Frances; his daughters, Rebecca Hash of Arlington, VA; Katherine Thames (Hardy) of Gulfport, and Lauren Bell (Gabe) of Arlington, VA; by seven grandchildren, Benji, Mary and Simon Thames, Elizabeth, Amelia, Nathaniel and John Bell; as well as by two stepchildren, Elizabeth Boyd and Bill Boyd (Martha) of Birmingham, AL; and their children, William, August, Betsy and Richard Boyd.
John was born on April 26, 1944, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and spent his childhood in Camden, South Carolina. At Camden High School, he met his high school sweetheart, Mary Muldrow, whom he married in 1967. John earned a B.A. in Economics from Davidson College and an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, where he returned annually to guest lecture and mentor younger graduate students. John began his career in business with General Mills in 1968, where he worked in the finance division with GM subsidiaries in Toronto, Minneapolis and New York.
In 1976, he moved his young family to Gulfport, MS, where he served as President of Love Broadcasting Company, WLOX’s parent company, until his retirement in 1995. John is remembered by his former colleagues and employees at WLOX as a visionary leader who was also a kind, gentle, and sincere friend and mentor. John was a member of the Young Presidents Organization, a global network of young chief executives. He was also very active in the local business community, serving as a member and on the boards of many organizations, charities and companies. John was passionate about education and served on the Gulfport School Board for 13 years, many of those as its President. He is remembered by many for his dedication to improving the quality of public education in Mississippi.
He was a long time parishioner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport where he served as a Vestry member and Lay Minister. In addition to John’s many professional accomplishments, he was a tinkerer, builder and inventor; a restorer of antique cars, tractors and boats; a world traveler, genealogist, and voracious reader with encyclopedic knowledge of history; and an avid sportsman, sherman, and hunter.
In 2003, John married Frances Edge Boyd. He and Frances moved to Montana where they enjoyed life under the “Big Sky,” and he was able to pursue these lifelong interests wholeheartedly. They were members of the Shields River Lutheran Church. John was a wonderful husband, father and friend; he gave generously of his time, talents, and resources to support the interests and talents of his children, his grandchildren, and the many, many people who counted him as a friend or mentor. He will be deeply missed by many.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gulfport. The funeral service will be held in the church sanctuary at 12 p.m. Saturday. Burial will be at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Gulfport, MS, 11322 E Taylor Rd, Gulfport, MS 39503, (228) 896-7597; or to Shields River Lutheran Church 105 Ordway St, Wilsall, MT 59086, (406) 578-2212. Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th St., Gulfport, is in charge of arrangements. View and sign register book at www.bradfordokeefe.com