John Robert “JR” Hooten, born on June 10, 1935, passed away on June 9, 2015, one day prior to his eightieth birthday as a result of a sudden illness. He is predeceased by his father, Robert E. Lee Hooten, and mother, Elizabeth Hart Hooten. John was born in Lenoir County, grew up in Grifton, NC, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After serving three years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of Captain, he entered Wake Forest University School of Law where he graduated with a Juris Doctor degree and was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 1963. John had a long and distinguished career as an attorney, having served as a law clerk to the Honorable John D. Larkins, Jr, US District Judge of the Eastern District of North Carolina, a short tenure as a US Assistant Attorney before entering the private practice of law in Kinston, NC where he practiced law as a principal in what became the firm of White and Allen, PA until his retirement.
John’s many accomplishments include his being inducted into Lenoir Memorial Hospital’s “Hall of Honor” in 2004, being named Citizen of the Year by the Lenoir Chamber of Commerce due to his service on the Kinston City Board of Education, in addition to being a member of the NC State Bar, NC Bar Association, Lenoir County Bar Association, American Bar Association, the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, and a recent past chairman of the NC Bar Association Senior Lawyer Division, and an inductee into the North Carolina Bar Association’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Upon his retirement, John and his wife Esther moved to Oriental, NC where he was active in the Oriental Rotary Club, becoming a five-time Paul Harris Fellow.
John is survived by his wife, Esther, and three sons, John Robert, Jr. (Krista) of Pensacola, FL, Michael (Bailey) of Winston-Salem, NC, and Robert (Nikki) of Ellicott City, MD, and six grandchildren, Kennedy, Jake, Hays, Jack, Charlie, and Kate. He is also survived by two sisters Martha Sweeney (Dennis) of Pittsburgh, PA and Alice Khanlarian (Haik) of Memphis, TN.
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A memorial service will be held at the Oriental United Methodist Church at 2:00pm on Friday, June 12, 2015 with a reception immediately following at the Hooten residence at 182 Morrison Road, Oriental, NC. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Marine Corps League (www.mcleague.com), the Oriental Rotary Club (www.orientalrotary.org; PO Box 205, Oriental, NC 28571), the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (www.pkdcure.org) or to the charity of one’s choice.