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John Painter '75 March 16, 2024 4:14 PM updated: March 16, 2024 4:21 PM

John Bernard Painter 

March 21, 1952 - September 12, 2020 

John Bernard Painter, 68 of Collierville, TN, passed away quietly in his own home on September 12, 2020 after a 3 year battle with Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy (PSP). John was born in Memphis, TN on March 21, 1952, to Dr. L.B. Painter and Margaret Jack Painter. John’s childhood was spent in Portageville, MO graduating from high school in 1970. He studied Landscape Architecture at Texas A&M University where he graduated in 1974.

After college, John returned to Memphis, the city of his birth, where he practiced landscape architecture and later met his life partner, Rich Scruggs. Rich and John combined households during the Great Memphis Ice Storm in February, 1994, and chose to celebrate their anniversary every Valentines Day thereafter. They shared a love of flowers and gardening, and every square foot of outdoor space at their home was decorated with ferns, outdoor orchids, fountains and stone. They also enjoyed comedic humor (think Golden Girls) and over 26 years, they co-parented a flock of felines: Endora, Serena, Willow and Max.

John is survived by his brother, Jim (Rose) Painter of Lakewood Ranch, FL; his sister Nancy (Brad) Richmond of Orlando, FL; and his loving nieces and nephews: Angela Richmond Rodda (Hannah and Benjamin Rodda), Sarah Richmond, Lisa Richmond Roberts (Michael and Noah Roberts), and Mark Painter. John was preceded in death by his parents, and his sister, Karen Elizabeth Painter.

John requested that his body be donated to the University of Tennessee School of Medicine so that others dealing with PSP might benefit from his contribution. The family has decided to honor John’s wish to not have a Memorial (due to the risks of COVID-19). Instead, all are invited to share memories and condolences at the online memorial site Gathering Us. (

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that anyone wishing to express condolences do so through a contribution to "Cure PSP", the leading source of information and support for families dealing with "prime of life neurodegeneration". 


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