Jack Kershaw, Renaissance Man, Died September 7 2010

From the blog:


Jack Kershaw, An Associate Of The Fugitive Poets Of Vanderbilt, Dies At 97

Jack Kershaw age 97 died Wednesday Sept.7, 2010 Artist, sculptor, home builder, farmer, lawyer, lecturer, southern historian, Vanderbilt Graduate in the early1930’s. A renaissance man, non conforming in both dress and content. Jack was one of those unforgettable characters portrayed in the Readers Digest Articles. A gold plated eccentric.

Jack was born in Missouri in 1913 to Karl and Ethel Norton Kershaw. His father had a degree in geology and civil mining. His mother was born in Wyoming and after her mother’s death; her father abandoned his four children. Her uncle took the boys and raised them in Wyoming and Jack’s mother and sister were sent to live with an aunt in Tennessee. She was raised in a home of privilege and received a good education becoming a school teacher. She met and married Karl Kershaw in Missouri and from this union Jack was born. Karl moved his family to Old Hickory, Tennessee when WW1 broke out and was the engineer in charge of building the DuPont power plant. Mrs. Kershaw returned to the classroom to teach.

Jack attended Warner school, MBA where he played football and attended a military school at Stone Mountain Ga. and then Vanderbilt University where he played football while majoring in geology, history and art.

When the first pro football team was formed in Nashville in the late 1930’s, he was the quarter back playing with such notable local characters as Haynes Noel. This team was dissolved due to the war. Jack was a member of the State of Tennessee Militia as a Calvary member .He was a member of the first Tennessee Arts Commission.

Jack became associated with a group of intellectuals who called themselves the Fugitive Poets of Vanderbilt in the 1920’s. This group of students would go on to make a great impact of how the history of the south would be told. The Fugitive is considered to be one of the most influential publications in the history of American letters. The Fugitives made Vanderbilt a fountainhead of the New Criticism, the dominant mode of textual analysis in English during the first half of the twentieth century. Included in this group among the most notable Fugitives were John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, John Crow, Merrill Moore, Donald Davidson, William Ridley Wills, Robert Penn Warren, Andrew Lytle, Cleanth Brooks, and the poet Laura Riding, although not a member was West Tennessean Jesse Hill Ford. Andrew Lytle was a first cousin of Jack’s late wife.

Jack was married to Mary Noel in the 1930,s taking up residence in the former Glendale Country Clubhouse, which had closed during the depression and owned by his father in law, Edwin Noel. Mary was from an equally privileged family and an educated southern dame. It could be said they were equals as she was raised into art, music and letters. Mary died in 1989. Mr. Noel owned a very large block of land in south Nashville. He and Jack farmed and developed this property.

Jack and Mary decided, more on a “lark” to attend the YMCA LAW School. He was admitted to the bar in the 1960’s. His most famous client was the late James Earl Ray. Jack has written but yet not published a book on all involved in this affair. Because of the sensitive nature of its contents is being kept at a secure off site from his home. He has two other yet unpublished works set for release sometime in the future.

His most notable art piece is that of General Nathan Bedford Forrest Horse and Rider located on I-65 South just north of Brentwood and Joan of Arch a two story depiction of her death at the stake.

Jack was a co-founder of the League of the South; member of the (SCV) Sons of Confederate Veterans; M.O.S.B. the officer corps of the SCV; member Joe Johnston Camp 28 SCV. He was an heir of Admiral Kershaw CSA of South Carolina.

Jack is survived by two 2nd cousins Mike Jamison of Los Angeles, CA, and Debra Pronto of Indianapolis, IN. and his cat Coco Jack had many friends that have looked after him these last two years, Ryan and Terry Reeves of Old Hickory. Others in Jack’s inter circle of close friends were Frank Ritter, Ross Massey, Wes Shofner, Henry Hood and Sir William Dorris.

Jack wishes of cremation have been carried out.

Interment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery following a memorial service and Celebrations of Remembrances set for Sept.18 at 11.00 A.M

All Saints Southern Episcopal Church 46sh and Park Avenue, West Nashville.


My Notes:

Jack was one of my oldest and dearest friends and one of the greatest men I have ever known.

Gary Revel