By Cindy Jo Ayers
Mr. Johns Murphy (J.M.) “Murph” Everett was inducted into the Florida FFA Hall of Fame on Monday evening, September 24. Everett’s induction was at the 12th FFA Hall of Fame ceremony at the Florida FFA Leadership Training Center at Haines City.
Accepting on behalf of Mr. Everett’s family was Michelle Walker Crawford who is a former student of Mr. Everett, former Trenton FFA Advisor, and current Gilchrist County School Board member. During the acceptance speech Crawford said, “There are times in our lives when we find people in our corner who stand, stay and cheer us on in all that we do, they pick us up when we fall, dust us off from time to time, and then encourage us to get back up and go again....for me and hundreds of other young people through the years, Mr. Everett was one of those people.”
Mr. Everett was born in Gilchrist County, graduated from Trenton High School in 1949, served in the Army during the Korean War, receiving several metals including the Korean Service Medal with four Bronze Stars. Afterward Everett attended the University of Florida graduating in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.
Mr. Everett taught agriculture in Layafette, Gilchrist and Suwannee County Schools from 1956 until 1992. During those 37 years of teaching agriculture he coached many judging teams, encouraged students to participate in FFA leadership programs, as well as taking many students to state and national FFA Conventions through the years. Students found their vocational calling in agriculture, business, government, and other fields because of his influence.
After he retired from teaching he was elected to the Gilchrist County School Board serving from 1996 until 2004. He was President of the Gilchrist Historical Society, and helped organize the first Veteran’s and Memorial Day events in Gilchrist County and also the Veteran’s memorials at the courthouse. He was a very active member of Bethel Baptist Church where he was a deacon, church historian, Sunday school teacher and oversaw the church cemetery.
Murphy Everett passed away on January 10, 2011. He and his wife Midge were married 57 years. They had two sons who preceded him in death.
Michelle Crawford summed up Mr. Everett’s agriculture teaching career best when she told the audience at the Hall of Fame ceremony, “Mr. Everett committed himself to improving the lives of young people through agriculture education, each and every day that he was on campus of Lafayette, Trenton or Suwannee High Schools, he was an amazing man...one that is missed on a daily basis. They don’t seem to make men like him anymore; faithful to the Lord and his family, always humble and kind.”
J.M. Everett Inducted into Florida FFA Hall of Fame
By Cindy Jo Ayers