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Jernigan remembered as gentleman, friend

By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
William Yancey Jernigan III was remembered this week as a man of principle who valued his friends and family above all else.
Jernigan, who was 81, died early Monday at D.W. McMillan Hospital.
His family had deep roots in Brewton. His grandfather, William Yancey Jernigan Sr., owned the ice factory. His father, William Yancey Jernigan Jr., was the founder of Peoples Market.
William Yancey Jernigan III attended Auburn University and served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation cadet from 1941 until 1944. His career goal was to become a veterinarian, but he left Auburn and returned to Brewton where he bought and managed his father's business, Peoples Market and Grocery, because he thought it best for his father's health. He retired from the grocery business in 1977, and worked as county tax inspector from 1978 until 1998.
Bob Bryant said he can't remember a time when he didn't know Jernigan. "I've known him since I was in elementary school," Bryant said. "I guess in a small town, everybody knows everybody. You aren't introduced to someone, you just know them."
Bryant left Brewton in 1954 and returned in 1973. From that point forward, Jernigan was his neighbor and close friend.
Jernigan was also a bird lover and an animal lover, Bryant said.
Chip Peach said he's known Jernigan most of his life, since meeting his son, Yancey Jernigan IV, in grammar school.
Jernigan was a serious fan of Auburn football.
Because family responsibilities called Jernigan home and prevented him from completing the degree he was pursuing at Auburn, he stressed the importance of education to his children.
Jernigan absolutely adored his wife, the late Emily Ruth Wood Jernigan, Peach said.
Peach said Jernigan valued his friends and family over all else. He once had an opportunity to sell land in what would have been a very lucrative deal, Peach said. However, he knew the sale would upset some of his friends and family members.
Jernigan was a golden member of the First United Methodist Church, where his funeral was held Tuesday. He also was a 50-year member of the American Legion Post 79.
Complete obituary information is included in today's Brewton Standard.