John Brandon Givhan
Published 4:40 pm Tuesday, August 3, 2021
On August 2, 2021, John Brandon Givhan, loving husband, devoted father and grandfather passed away at the age of 80. John was born in Selma, Alabama, to the late John Anderson and Claire Bell Givhan. He grew up on the family farm near Safford, Alabama.
John was a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War. While flying a combat assault mission on April 12, 1964, with his great friend and copilot Robert “Bo” Thompson, a missile came through the cockpit floor taking John’s right leg off below the knee. Bo continued to fly the helicopter to meet a medical evacuation helicopter which flew John to a Saigon hospital.
Bo shouted in John’s ear: “You are going to live.” After that, it never crossed John’s mind that he might not.
Bo named his son “John,” who retired as a U.S. Army colonel helicopter pilot.
Bo was killed in action in Vietnam on August 9, 1967, while flying a U.S. Army helicopter.
After his service in the Vietnam War, he met the love of his life, Martha Elizabeth James, from Birmingham. John and Martha were married on Dec. 2, 1966, in East Lake Methodist Church in Birmingham.
John was a member and deacon of the First Baptist Church, Andalusia, where he taught the men’s Baraca Class. His wife Martha was First Baptist Church organist for decades.
Funeral services will be at 3 p.m., Thursday, August 5, at the First Baptist Church with Dr. Kevin Wilburn officiating and Foreman Funeral Home directing. Visitation will begin at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church. Interment will follow in Andalusia Memorial Cemetery with military honors being observed at the graveside.
He is survived by his wife, Martha James Givhan; his son and daughter-in-law, John Anderson and Candy Givhan II; one daughter, Endsley Givhan Bolen; three grandchildren, John Bruce Bolen, James Calvin Watkins, and Shelby Lynn Watkins; his brother-in-law, Sonny James and wife Linda of Fairhope; one niece, Dr. Christy James Guepet of Fairhope, Alabama; nephew, Frank James of Oneonta, Alabama; a great niece, Ellie Guepet; and great nephew, Matthew Guepet.
Pallbearers will be Ben Bowden, Bill Alverson, John Thompson, Walter P. Givhan, Ben Brannon, Billy Lytle, Carl Lytle, Sam H. Givhan.
Honorary pallbearers will be Sonny James, Bob Inman, David Moore, and John Parham.
The family will accept flowers of memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church Building Fund.