John Marlin

Born in Portland, TN on May 21, 1948

Departed on August 24, 2020 and resided in Portland, TN

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John Bryan Marlin, 73, died peacefully in his home after a short but hard-fought battle with cancer on August 24, 2020.

John was born May 21,1948 to James and Leona Marlin in Portland, Tennessee. He graduated from Portland High School, where he played on the football team and met the love of his life, Anne Simonton. They married in 1966 while attending Austin Peay. For nearly 54 years, they were rarely separated, as he missed his wife terribly whenever she traveled. Together they raised four children, and he was their biggest cheerleader through many seasons of football, softball, soccer, basketball and golf. He encouraged each of them to follow their passions and never wavered in his support of their dreams.

An avid and excellent self-taught golfer, he studied the game incessantly until he knew every detail of the perfect swing, and endless ways to correct swings that were less than perfect. He generously shared his in-depth knowledge of the game with others, including his wife and children, and many others he happily gave lessons to over the years. His family in turn patiently listened to the stories of his matches—reliving every stroke—when he inevitably recreated them at the dinner table. His happy place was always the golf course and he was known to everyone at his home course, Dogwood Hills.

New career opportunities were intriguing to him, and he tried several fields before falling in love with the car business. After soaking in knowledge from larger dealerships he branched out on his own and started Pro-Car in Portland. He was joined by his partner, Keith Reecer a few years later. He was dedicated to helping his customers find that perfect car, and to helping others in the car business find the jobs that were right for them. He made hundreds of friends over the years, and he always had a story and a smile for each of them.

A voracious reader, John was known to read a book or two a day. He enjoyed nothing more than having family over, then retiring to his room to read as he listened to his children and grandchildren playing in the next room. He also liked to sing and listen to music from every decade since the 50s. He loved all types of music: country, classical, opera, gospel and Southern rock, and he especially enjoyed crooning love songs to his wife.

He was a lifelong fan of the Green Bay Packers and the Big Orange, through good years and bad. They were “his” teams, but he made room in his heart for the Tennessee Titans when they came along, as well as the schools where his kids attended college.

John was a deeply devoted husband and best friend to Anne, whom he will love through eternity.

He was incredibly proud of his children Kelley (Brett Alexander), Bryan (Carrie), Karen Sortin (Nick) and James (Vanessa). They are devastated to lose his corny jokes, his vehicular expertise, his book, movie and restaurant recommendations and his political outrage.

He is adored forever by his nine grandchildren (Zebediah, Maddox, Cash, Zuzu, McKane, Hank, Lucas, Phoenix and sweet Sailor) who will always remember the laughter and fun they had with their Grandaddy, especially on the beaches of Florida.

He is further survived by his sisters Meredith Thompson, Bonnie Ausbrooks, and Mandy Marlin, his brother-in-law Dr. Ralph Simonton III and his sister-in-law Dr. Susan Simonton, along with nieces, nephews and other relatives. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Never one to make a fuss, John wished to be cremated, and during COVID-19, he did not want anyone to put their health at risk to attend a service. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at If you’d prefer to show your support through action, make sure you vote this fall. (He would strongly prefer a vote for Biden/Harris, but anyone who knew him already knows that.)

20 Comments to John Marlin

  1. Katherine Raum
    September 3, 2020 5:42 pm

    My goodness, I love this couple and can’t believe he is gone. What a wonderful man. Much love to Anne and his kids and his many friends. He is already missed.

  2. Alexia Edmonds
    September 3, 2020 8:20 pm

    I’m so glad that I had pleasure to know John Marlin from working with Anne at the hospital in Franklin and you definitely could tell he had a heart of gold, I want to say to the family that the memories you made with your dad will be in your hearts forever and to Anne Marlin a lady that I have loved from day one of us working together if you need me to do anything for you or just to talk or text don’t hesitate. Sending lots of prayers and love to you all.

  3. James and Kay Parker
    September 3, 2020 9:30 pm

    To my old lab buddy our sympathy is sent! I had been friends with John for a long time and got to know his future wife, Anne as my biology lab partner. We will keep you in our prayers!

  4. Kathy Vandiver
    September 4, 2020 10:06 am

    Anne, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your husband, Although I did not know him, he sounds like he was a great man, great friend, great father, and especially a great husband to you. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. 🙏🙏

    Kathy & Furry Paws Lodge

  5. Kathy Vandiver
    September 4, 2020 10:08 am

    Anne, I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your husband, John. Although I did not know him it sounds as though he was a great man, great father, great friend, and especially a great husband! My thoughts and prayers are with you 🙏

  6. Deborah Phillips Murphy
    September 4, 2020 11:50 am

    So Sorry for you and your family’s great loss.

  7. Diane Barber-Miller
    September 4, 2020 2:38 pm

    Anne, prayers for you and all of his family. So sorry for your loss. Your faith and the support of friends and family will get you through this. John, Bonnie, Jimmy (my brother), and I rode the school bus together. He was always so thoughtful, caring, and considerate, even through those “teenage” years. When I cast my vote, I will think of John.

    • Anne
      September 4, 2020 4:13 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments! John was also passionate about his politics and would be happy to hear about your vote.

  8. Kerri Johnson
    September 5, 2020 9:47 am

    Anne, I’m so sorry to hear about your and your family’s loss of a dear husband, father, and grandfather. I know by his smile and your smile about you both having a positive impact on the world. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you and wish you the best. Lean on the Lord and your family and friends. Love you!

  9. Charles R. Goad
    September 5, 2020 5:29 pm

    Sorry to hear of John’s passing. Prayers to you and your family.

  10. Janice Black
    September 15, 2020 12:46 pm

    Anne, Howie and I were out of town when this happened but we were both so very ,very sorry to hear this news. I can’t imagine how heartbroken you and your family are. I will always be grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to work as a young teen as my family had to live quite carefully with my dad’s condition. I love working there on main Street. You have ALWAYS been our favorite nurse for sure. Please know that you are in our prayers.

    • Anne Marlin
      September 17, 2020 10:56 pm

      Thank you so much for your sweet comments. Your prayers are much appreciated. We all miss him very much but have endless happy memories.

  11. Libby Deason
    October 17, 2020 10:15 pm

    Anne, I am so sorry to learn of John’s passing. I know how much you loved each other. My prayers are with you and your beautiful family.

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