Ginner scholarship honors John Shoaf

The Southern Cotton Ginners Association's 2004-05 Gin Management and Technology Curriculum Scholarship at Mississippi State University will be in memory of the late John A Shoaf.

Shoaf, who died March 17, 2002, was owner or part owner of several gins in Tennessee and Milan Compress.

“This scholarship is a symbol of our appreciation of Mr. John and his long-time dedication to our association and his contributions to the cotton ginning industry,” said David Blakemore, outgoing SCGA president, who made the presentation at the organization's annual banquet.

“He was a pioneer, whose legacy centered around agriculture and cotton. He was not only involved in growing the crop, but also ginning, warehousing, and marketing. And even beyond that, he was dedicated, through good times and bad, to the promotion of cotton.

“He was involved with the Cotton Board during the rayon and polyester days and he was an active member of the ginning, warehousing, and shipping sectors of the National Cotton Council, working to meet the challenges and changes as the cotton industry transformed itself to stay competitive.

“In fact, some of the groundwork for the export-dependent market for cotton that we have today took place on Mr. John's farm, where he served as goodwill ambassador and tour guide, hosting many international groups and students.”

Blakemore said ginners and the cotton industry in the Mid-South and nationwide “are indebted to him for his dedication and leadership.”

In addition to his efforts on behalf of cotton, Shoaf was a member of the Milan school board and was honored by the city of Milan with its Good Citizenship Award in 1975.

A native of Port Gibson, Miss., he lived most of his life in Milan, was a graduate of the University of Tennessee, and a World War II veteran.

“Today, several members of his family continue to operate farms and related businesses in several Tennessee counties — a continuing legacy to his leadership and business skills,” Blakemore said. He is survived by his wife, Maurine, four sons, three daughters, and five grandchildren.

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