He was born in Atlanta, GA to the late James Thompson and Belle Thompson Wardlaw and attended Pine Street School, Spartanburg High School, Darlington School, Davidson College and Georgia Tech.
John served in the Navy as a destroyer escort communications officer during World War II. He worked with Milliken and Co., Kentucky Woven Label Co., Bo-Buck Mills and later founded Wardlaw Sales in Spartanburg before retiring in 1995.
He was actively involved in the Spartanburg community serving as President of The Spartanburg Rotary Club; the Spartanburg County Foundation Board of Trustees and Investment Advisory Committee.
He served on the Spartanburg Music Foundation Board, Friends of the Spartanburg County Library Board, Commissioner on the Spartanburg Housing Authority, Chairman of Total Ministries Board, Habitat for Humanity Board, President of the Narrow Fabrics Institute and was the Founder, Chairman, Director and Board Chair Emeritus of The Adult Learning Center. John was a devoted and faithful member of The Episcopal Church of the Advent, where he served on the Vestry, as senior and junior warden.
His service and commitment to Spartanburg has been recognized with multiple civic and state awards. John received the SC Order of the Palmetto from Governor Mark Sanford; the Neville Holcombe Distinguished Citizen award presented by the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce; the Wofford College Algernon- Sydney Sullivan Award for public service; the Mary Black Foundation Dr. Sam O. Black, Jr. Health Promotion Award for Leadership; 2014 Kiwanis Club of Spartanburg Citizen of the Year; the Dean Griffin Public Service Award from Georgia Tech; and the National Service to Mankind Award from the Sertoma Club.
John is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary; his daughter, Saunders McCollum and her husband, David, of Anderson, SC; and his grandchildren, Ashley and John McCollum.
A celebration of his life will be held at The Episcopal Church of the Advent, on Wednesday, April 18th, 3:00PM, officiated by The Reverend Dr. Clay H. Turner and The Reverend J. Edward Morris.
The family will receive friends following the service at The Parish and Community Life Center.
In remembrance of John, memorials may be made to The Episcopal Church of the Advent, 141 Advent St., Spartanburg, SC 29302, The Adult Learning Center, 145 N Church St., Spartanburg, SC 29306, or Spartanburg Regional Home Health and Hospice, 686 Jeff Davis Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.JMDunbar.com.
Dunbar Funeral Home & Crematory
Published in Spartanburg Herald-Journal from Apr. 17 to Apr. 18, 2018