John Grisham, Sr., father of novelist John Grisham and a former DeSoto County Supervisor, died this past Sunday in Mountain View, Ark. He was 87.

Private funeral arrangements are set for Friday in Mountain View, according to a member of the extended family.

The elder Grisham, known to family as "Papa John" had ties to both Arkansas and Mississippi. John and Wanda Grisham moved to a farm outside of Black Oak, Ark. just after they married in 1952.

Eventually, John, Sr. took a job with a construction company in 1962, which brought the family to Mississippi, Louisiana and back to Arkansas in the summer of 1963. The family lived in Parkin, Ark. for about three years before moving again in 1966. The family moved to Memphis where John, Sr. became employed as a mechanic to support his growing family.

"He was a sharecropper when I was born and then went from mechanic to salesman," said Mark Grisham. "He broke all sales records. It was a pretty incredible story."

By the early 1970s, the Grishams and their five children, John, Mark, Kenny, Beth and Wendy had settled in the Southaven area. John, Sr. owned and operated a heavy equipment company, Grisham Equipment, which was in operation for several years.

John Grisham, Sr. was first elected as DeSoto County Supervisor in 1985 and served two terms.

"His biggest accomplishment was to help get Southaven incorporated," Mark Grisham said. "He was a good man."

DeSoto County officials responded with sadness at the news of Grisham's passing.

"I respected Mr. Grisham," said longtime DeSoto County Chancery Clerk, W.E. "Sluggo" Davis, now retired. "He believed that DeSoto County was going to be a progressive county like it is today."

Condolences on behalf of the Grisham family may be expressed to P.O. Box 1652, Mountain View, Ark., 72560.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be made in his memory to Gideons International in Mountain View at P.O. Box 1134, Mt. View, AR 72560.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

(1) comment


Sorry to hear of Mr. Grisham's passing. My prayers are with the family.

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