John Miles Goggans was born January 9, 1938 to W.L. and Marie Roberts Goggans of the Herbine community in Cleveland County. After a lengthy battle with dementia he passed away January 2, 2020.
Survived by his children Miles McFerrin Goggans, Johnna Goggans Novak (Kurt), grandson John Harper (Jack) Thomas (Hailey), a bonus grandson Jack Novak, nieces, a nephew and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother W. Howard Goggans, and his bride of 53 years, Beverly Fergusson Goggans.
His childhood was spent playing along the banks of the Saline River, on the family farm, at Bethel #2 Missionary Baptist Church and with friends in the Rison school district.
Asked how the bus navigated the road from Herbine to Rison when it flooded, he said “The bus driver told me to roll up my pants, grab the front bumper and walk along in front of the bus so he would know how deep the water was!” He was selected to play in the state’s first high school All Star football game, playing for the East squad in Little Rock.
Afterwards he enrolled at the University of Arkansas on athletic and academic scholarships playing for the freshman football team. After his freshman year, he transferred to Henderson State University. His years at Henderson forged lifelong friendships and memories and culminated in 2016 when the 1959 championship team was inducted into the Reddie Sports Hall of Fame.
He was drafted to play in the Canadian Football League for a team based in Saskatchewan at the time. Instead he chose to return home to begin his career. Years later when asked why he did not play professional football his answer was always the same, “I was not moving somewhere I could not pronounce.” His career was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army where he achieved the rank of Captain as well as numerous accolades in leadership and marksmanship. After an honorable discharge, he and his wife moved from South Carolina to Pine Bluff where he began a career with Varco Pruden that spanned 46 years along with multiple volunteer efforts in the community as well as Lakeside Methodist Church. He touched many lives over the years coaching elementary basketball at Jefferson Prep alongside close friend J.C. Welch.
Upon retirement, the couple moved to Little Rock to be close to their grandson and children.
There will be a private service for Goggans. Honorary pallbearers are the members of the 1959 Henderson Reddie football team.
If you wish to make a memorial, please do with the cause of your choice.
The family wishes to thank the many friends, the staff at Gardner Nursing Home and the amazing team at Arkansas Hospice.
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