In Loving Memory of

John (J.L.) Luther Tison, Sr.


John (J.L.) Luther Tison, Sr. (81) of Gainesville, FL—faithful brother, father, husband, neighbor, and friend—passed away peacefully on March 2, 2022 in his home in Gainesville.

A service to celebrate J.L.’s life will be held at the Chapel at Forest Meadows Cemetery Central on March 12, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow at Forest Meadows Cemetery Central. Arrangements are under the care of Forest Meadows Funeral Home, Gainesville, Florida, (352) 378-2528,

Friends and family will remember J.L. for his quiet manner, quick smile, strong work ethic, love of nature, unquenchable sweet tooth, and a God-given talent in his hands for fixing things.

Born in Orange Heights on June 16, 1940, J.L. was raised in rural Alachua County. He proved himself to be strong and capable while working the farm alongside his family. Later, as a teenager, he was encouraged by a local mechanic to try his hands at tuning up and fixing cars, which ultimately turned into J.L.’s calling and lifelong career.

Not only did J.L. know his way around an engine block, but he was also steady behind the wheel. Starting as a teenager and into his adult years, J.L. and his fellow drivers made names for themselves on the drag racing circuit. Now a 4-lane highway, Florida State Road 441 was a dirt road for most of the years that J.L. was racing—and winning—in his home-built Chevys.

For six decades, J.L worked as a car mechanic. His reputation for honesty and outstanding workmanship eventually led him to open and operate J.L.’s Auto Repair in Gainesville for many  years until he retired in his late 70s.

In 1984, J.L. married Judy. Kindred spirits with tender hearts, J.L. and Judy regularly and quietly performed countless acts of kindness for the people in their lives. J.L. never asked for anything in return, except maybe a Snickers bar or the exchange of funny stories. J.L. excelled at kidding around and teasing the people he loved best.

When he wasn’t working on cars or perfecting his lawn, J.L. sought other ways to enjoy life in the great outdoors. He liked hiking and horseback riding but motorcycle rides, a day on the boat, or a relaxed weekend drive with Judy or his sons were among his favorite memories.

J.L. is predeceased in death by his parents Willie Mae (Bender) and Maceo Tison; wife Judy (Broutman) Tison; and his brother Harry W. Tison, Sr.

J.L. is survived by his two sisters Katherine Brown (Lawtey, FL) and Ruby Dean (Waldo, FL) and her husband Ralph; his two sons John (Alachua, FL) and Tim (Gainesville, FL); one grandchild; one great-grandchild; and his extended family and community of friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in J.L.’s name to the Humane Society of North Central Florida:

Condolences may be left in J.L.’s online guestbook at

Online Condolences

7 Responses

  1. Bruce at · Reply

    Have very fond memories of JL and Judy. They will not be forgotten.

  2. Leslie and Earl True at · Reply

    We are sending our condolences to all of JL’s family. I’m sorry we will not be there to give you a hug. We were lucky to be able to visit annually. We think fondly of our adventures and around the house projects with JL. We are happy to send a donation to the humane society.

  3. Louenis Kvaltine at · Reply

    You’ll be missed greatly JL.
    For family and friends: know peace in your hearts that JL and Judy will be together again, pain free.

  4. Debi Fillyaw-Adams at · Reply

    J.L. will be missed but never forgotten! Praying for the many family and friends.

  5. Toby Fraser at · Reply

    A loving man with a kind heart and gentle soul…He leaves a legacy we should all strive for.

  6. Amy S. at · Reply

    JL came into my life when he came into my sister Judy’s life, back in the early 1980s when she was driving around in a car that JL probably raced back in the 1960s.

    JL was Judy’s hero first because he could fix her car, and then he became her hero through love. I truly believe JL and Judy were each other’s heroes, because from the moment they met each other, they knew that as long as they were together, they would face life’s challenges in the arms of someone who saw the world in exactly the same way.

    This is one reason JL was my hero, too. Because he was Judy’s.

    In millions of little and significant ways, JL performed quiet acts of heroism to so many people. For close to sixty years, he was the unsung hero of every person whose car he fixed. He sure kept my 1976 Pontiac LeMans humming.

    If something needed to be done, JL did it. He didn’t look around to see if there might be somebody else to pick up the slack. I mean, there was no slack where JL was concerned. The perfection of his lawn was a testament to that.

    Oh, and Lord knows JL was the unsung hero to half the feral cats in northwest Gainesville.

    JL quietly helped family members and friends in times of sadness and crisis. He gave in every way he could, but mostly and most meaningfully he always offered his time.

    I can tell you that JL helped me lug my furniture in and out of the dorms and sorority houses at UF more times that he or I would care to count. He also helped me move–and laugh–after a sad break-up. The most moving thing to me, however, was how JL and my husband Brian became close over the years. They cut up together as we went on all kinds of adventures to the beach, hiking trails, and other places in the great outdoors. Brian never quit telling JL stories about airplanes, and JL never quit trying to teach Brian about cars.

    In this crazy busy world, I think the gift of time is the most precious.

    I never knew I wanted a big brother until JL became mine. If he was here right now, JL would probably tell me to knock off all the fancy talk, tease me about my latest hair color, and suggest we go get a chocolate milkshake which sounds like the perfect idea.

    What I wouldn’t give to have another chocolate milkshake with JL.

  7. Lewis Garnett at · Reply

    I was a friend of Judy from childhood. I never met JL, but from the remembrances here, I wish I had. And Amy, I would join you two for a milkshake, but make mine banana.

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