Obituary: John Robert Dudley


John Robert
Dudley, Sr.

John Robert Dudley Sr., a longtime resident of Opelika, Alabama died on the 22nd day of April at the age of 84 at his home. He was born on June 13, 1932 in Crawford, Alabama and was preceded in death by his parents; Berry Clifton Dudley and Bertha Lane Dudley. He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Martha Jo Smith Dudley. His children: 3 daughters; Linda Dudley Epperson (Virgil), Ellen Dudley Gaberlavage (Tommy) and Vicki Dudley Massingill (Joey) and 1 son; John Robert Dudley Jr. Nine grandchildren: Paul Gaberlavage (Ginny), Hayley Gaberlavage (Ben), Blake Epperson (Lybbi), Courtney Massingill Woods (John), Lindsey Epperson Buttrey (Jonathan), John Robert Dudley III, Lawler Dudley, Laurel Dudley, and Tillman Dudley. Eight great grandchildren: Libby, John Thomas and Emily Gaberlavage, Walton Epperson, Leah and Mary Drew Woods, and Ellie Gray and Norah Cate Buttrey. In addition, he is survived by 1 brother; Berry Carl Dudley (Carolyn) and 3 sisters; Miriam Dudley Webb (Charles), Ruth Dudley Miles Gullate (Jack), and Dianne Dudley Hathaway (Duaine) along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. John Robert and his brother, Berry, began their sawmill career in 1951 with a portable sawmill which they had in Lee County. In 1961, the brothers decided to start a permanent sawmill. They chose the small community of Salem in Lee County in which to build their mill. Today, Dudley Lumber Company continues on the same site. In 2001, they purchased East Alabama Lumber Company from Byron Welch in Lafayette, Alabama. Mr. Dudley was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Opelika, the Opelika Civitan Club, and the Auburn-Opelika Elks Lodge. He was a member of the Alabama Forestry Association where he served as President from 1985-1986 and was also a member of the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association. Mr. Dudley’s hobby was his cattle business. The family would like to thank Mr. Dudley’s caregivers: Mary Phillips, Carolyn Glaze, Shirley Beasley, Josephine Beasley, Alberta Phillips, Gail Ross, Rolasha Phillips, Sylvia Sims, and Annell Smith. Visitation was Monday, April 24, 2017 from 12-1:45pm at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home with funeral services following at 2 pm in the chapel at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home in Opelika, Alabama. Burial followed at Garden Hills Cemetery. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home and Crematory directed.


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