John Frank McCullers IIIFebruary 15, 1937 ~ August 29, 2019 (age 82)
John Frank McCullers III was born on February 15, 1937 in Plant City, Florida to Edna Amy Pollard McCullers and John Frank McCullers, Jr. His parents divorced in 1944, and his mother then married Wayne Willis Martin.
The family soon moved to Fort Myers, where he attended Edgewood Elementary School and Fort Myers Junior High School. He graduated from Fort Myers High School in 1956.
On August 16, 1959 he married Elizabeth Kay Smith of Estero, and they made their first home in a Smith family citrus grove on Corkscrew Road. They survived Hurricane Donna while Kay was pregnant with their first son Jeff, who was born in 1961. Their son Andy was born in 1963.
John sold life insurance, clerked in a grocery store on Anderson Avenue, worked on a sand prospecting crew, built roadways for the state, and took what odd jobs he could while Kay worked at Goodyear Tire Company and the Estero Post Office. Over the years, he delivered milk for Hart’s Dairy, drove trucks for the Lee County Mosquito Control District, worked a dragline in quarries for West Coast Rock, and blasted tons of limestone with dynamite to build the canals of Cape Coral for the Gulf Atlantic Corporation. He owned and operated Caloosa Well Drilling, Inc. and inspected water wells for the Lee County Division of Natural Resources.
He enjoyed building and puttering, and always kept a fully furnished wood, metal, and automotive shop at his home. He built swamp buggies, chicken coops, truck toppers, equipment trailers, and once built a frame house from top to bottom with his two sons. He was a citrus farmer for many seasons and he raised goats.
Endlessly curious, he enjoyed exploring the old mounds and pioneer homesteads of Mound Key and Estero, often with a metal detector. He had a sizeable citizen’s band radio rig at one time, and enjoyed listening to shortwave numbers stations during the Cold War. He gigged frogs, threw cast nets, trapped quail, and skinned rattlesnakes.
He once rescued two sandhill crane eggs that were about to be dozed over. He brought the eggs home, placed them under a setting hen, and one hatched. He and Kay then raised this Sandhill crane (whom they named Minus), and it was a member of their household for several years, freely coming and going, curiously watching anything the children did, and occasionally lunging at neighbors who made the mistake of wearing shiny earrings that looked too much like small fish.
John passed away on August 29, 2019 in Lehigh Acres from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. He was 82 years old.
He is survived by his son John Frank “Jeff” McCullers IV and his wife Dona Ainsley; his son Andrew McCullers and his wife Anita McCullers; his sister Diane Roberts and her husband Danny Roberts; his brother-in-law Ray Smith and his wife Bobbie Smith; his grandchildren Ainsley McCullers, Anna McCullers, John Frank McCullers V, and Lena McCullers; his nieces Sharon Lamb, Terri Douglas, Tami Davis, and Marilyn Patton; his nephews Tommy Smith, Jackie Smith, Robert Smith, and Troy Roberts; and his friend and companion Karen Riggs.
Preceding him in death was Elizabeth Kay McCullers, his beloved wife of 57 years. He has mourned her passing these past three years, making regular visits to her resting place to talk with her memory.
His request was for no funeral or service, and the family will honor his wishes. His ashes will be joined with those of his wife Kay in a place special to them and their family.
Arrangements by Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral & Cremation Services in Fort Myers.