JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — John F. Sessions, the founder of Bug Out Service, Jacksonville, Fla., died Nov. 14 after a year-long fight against a brain tumor. He was 75.
Sessions was born Jan. 7, 1934, in Mayo, Fla., to the late Festus Williams and John Cabble Sessions. He served his country honorably in the U.S. Army for two years and graduated from Jacksonville University with a business degree.
John F. Sessions Stadium at Jacksonville University was named after him. He missed very few games or even practices of all of JU sports.
Sessions founded Bug Out in 1963 as a division of Arlington Fuel Oil Company. Sessions, who was vice president at Arlington at the time, convinced his partners to add pest control services to the business to build up the typically slow spring and summer months. His partners agreed, and Sessions created a pest control division within Arlington. After two years, the partners wanted to sell off the business, and they offered it to Sessions, who quickly took them up on their offer.
In the early years, Bug Out grew slowly but during the 1980s the company experienced significant expansion with the acquisition of several companies. In the ’90s the growth continued with expanded service areas and additional offices.
Sessions retired in 1999. Today, the company is operated by his son-in-law, Paul Felker, who joined the company in 1978.
Sessions was a past regional director the Florida Pest Management Association a winner of the PCT/Syngenta Professional Products Crown Leadership Award in 1991.
“John Sessions was such a good man to work for and made us all feel like family,” said Linda Prentice, the firm’s technical director.
“(Sessions) will be missed by the entire Bug-Out family,” said Robert Holyfield, a Bug-Out Service manager who has been with the firm more than 25 years. “He was a great business man and an even greater human being.”
Sessions was married for 52 years to his childhood sweetheart, Elizabeth Carson Sessions.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009 at Arlington United Methodist Church, 1400 University Blvd. N., Jacksonville, Florida 32211, with Rev. Larry Shields presiding. He will be laid to rest with military honors in Oaklawn Cemetery. Following the services, the family invites all to a celebration gathering in his memory from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Deerwood Country Club, 10239 Golf Club Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32256.
Memorial contributions may be made to Arlington United Methodist Church, Jacksonville University Athletic Department, 2800 University Blvd. N, Jacksonville, FL 32277 or Hendricks Day School of Jacksonville 1824 Dean Rd. , Jacksonville, FL 32216. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at www.mem.com.
Additional information from the Florida Times-Union.