John Alna Travis, III
John Alna Travis, III passed away on January 23, 2023, from injuries sustained in an accident while doing repairs on his home. He was 63 years old. Though his loss was unexpected, and the grief feels sharp, we are heartened by our certainty that John is in the presence of the Lord and Christ he loved and so humbly served.
John was born on October 11, 1959 in Jackson, Mississippi, to his parents Jack and Janie Travis. He attended Woodland Hills Baptist Academy, Hinds Community College, and Mississippi State University (which he claimed until the end was the greatest university in the nation.) He worked for Deposit Guaranty Bank for many years until he opened a construction company in 1997. He worked in residential and commercial construction and development for the next 25 years and won many awards in Mississippi for the beautiful homes he built. He served as president of the Jackson Home Builders’ Association as well as the Mississippi Home Builders’ Association, among other offices and titles in both of those organizations. But he was far more known for using his construction skills as a practical way to serve or invest in the lives of those around him. He could usually be found working on the home of someone in his church or community after having heard of some sort of practical need, or participating in a construction missions trip to Latin America, or simply riding around to job sites with his grandkids and teaching them how to estimate the number of light fixtures any given building might require. He often traveled to Texas or South America to work on projects at his daughters’ and brother’s homes, showing up just in time to build a fence or remodel a kitchen, and then take them out to lunch.
John loved his family fiercely, tangibly, and practically. On November 4, 1988, John married Marguerite Luke Travis and almost immediately adopted her two daughters, Lacey and Nikki, as his own. They then had their third daughter, Janie, and John spent the next 3 decades telling corny dad-jokes and suffering the consequences of being sorely outnumbered by all of his adoring girls. When his grandkids began arriving in 2006, he jumped into his role as “Granddaddy” just as whole-heartedly. He was almost always taking one of them along for a ride in his pickup truck, cheering them on at whatever activity they were in, or sneaking up to surprise them with one of his 1,000 masks.
While he loved and served both family and friends in many different ways, the one they tend to remember most was just his simple act of showing up. Whether for a project, a celebration, a funeral, a church event, a hospital visit, or just a simple breakfast conversation, John was there (sometimes in costume), ready to ask how he could help or to quietly serve behind the scenes. He knew that just being there was sometimes the best way and most practical way to serve. No fanfare or explanation or recognition was necessary. His quiet presence in hard places was often his greatest act of service.
John was a man of simple joys – his family, his church, working with his hands, a good steak, a beautiful beach, a cheesy pun, a good southern gospel or Frank Sinatra playlist, a glass of wine with good company. But he was not a man of simple faith. His love for Jesus was deep, steady, and humble. His Bible was well-worn. His desire to share and live out what he believed was consistent and contagious. The most marked page in his Bible highlights Micah 6:8, which says, “The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” We are so grateful for the opportunity and blessing that it was to know and love and be loved by John Travis, who embodied that verse so visibly. We are thankful that he is now with his Savior and has heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master!”
John was preceded in death by his parents, John Alna Travis, Jr., and Jane McCarty Travis, and also by his daughter, Lacey Brooke Travis Madden. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite Luke Travis, his daughters Nikki (Nate) Bonham and Janie (Aaron) Boersma, his son-in-law Brad Madden, 9 grandchildren, and his brother William (Kathy) Barrett Travis.
In honor of John’s love for the gospel, the church, global missions, and local mercy outreach, memorials may be made to Mission to the World, PO Box 744165, Atlanta, GA 30374-4165 (Memo: Bonham 10788) www.mtw.org/missionaries/details/nate-and-nikki-bonham, or to MadCAAP (Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty), P.O. Box 217, Canton, MS 39046 www.MadCAAP.org.