John William Heaton, ED.S.



Dr. Richard D. Howe, “John William Heaton, ED.S.,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed June 15, 2024,

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John William Heaton, ED.S.


Appalachian State University
Universities and colleges--Faculty


Dr. Richard D. Howe




Biographical sketches


Boone (N.C.)

Spatial Coverage

Temporal Coverage



Associate Professor Emeritus

Biographical Text

Associate Professor Emeritus of the Library John William Heaton (August 14, 1937-), was born in Banner Elk, North Carolina, to Nellie Faye Jones and John Kennedy Heaton. His mother came from a large family of little means from "the back hollows" of Avery County, North Carolina. Recognized as an outstanding student by the principal of Cranberry High School, Faye received a scholarship to Milligan College, Milligan College, Tennessee, and graduated in 1936. Heaton's father graduated from East Tennessee State University and began a career in education-teaching high school mathematics and becoming the principal of an elementary school in Carter County, Tennessee. He later retired "very happy" as a truck driver. Heaton graduated from Cloudland High School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, in 1955. Like his mother, he attended Milligan College in Carter County, Tennessee, graduating in 1959. He then began teaching combined classes of fourth, fifth, and sixth grades at a three-teacher school, Shell Creek Elementary in Roan Mountain. Heaton was drafted into the United States Army in 1960 and reported for duty at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, serving in the Finance Corps. He was then stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and later at the Seventh Army Headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. It was there that Heaton began correspondence with his future wife, Myrna Sue Wells, a native of Howard, Kansas. This correspondence lasted two years; the couple met in person upon Heaton's return from Germany, and was married within six months, on June 13, 1964. Myrna had also graduated from Milligan College in 1963. She received her master's from East Tennessee State University and her Ed.S. degree from Appalachian State University. She was a librarian and assistant principal in Watauga County for thirty-one years and retired from Hardin Park Elementary School in 2000. In 1964, Heaton began his postgraduate studies at East Tennessee State University. He served as a librarian at Rogersville High School and Capital High School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while working on his master's degree. In 1969, Heaton came to Appalachian State to fill the position of assistant circulation librarian at Belk Library. After earning his master's in library science in 1970, he became the assistant acquisitions librarian under Zebulon Shook. Heaton served as acquisitions librarian from about 1980 until his retirement in 1997. While working on his Ed.S. degree at Appalachian State, Heaton became interested in recording inscriptions from local cemeteries, an interest encouraged by the growing number of genealogy hobbyists who needed such information. His pursuit led to a video project in which he has taped each of the grave markers in the cemeteries of Watauga County--over 300 cemeteries so far and this project is ongoing. During his career, Heaton also held the offices of president, vice president, secretary, delegate, and treasurer of the Appalachian chapter of Phi Delta Kappa. He also holds an international office in the Phi Delta Kappa organization. He is one of two Chapter Liaisons, in western North Carolina and responsible for coordinating efforts of seven Phi Delta Kappa chapters in Western North Carolina. In 1983, Heaton served on the committee responsible for gathering articles for The Heritage of Watauga County 1984, Volume 1, copyrighted by the Watauga County Genealogical Society, an organization in which Heaton has held the positions of president and editor. He was also the only active charter member on the rolls of the Boone Kiwanis Club, dating from March of 1973. He served this organization as president, vice president, secretary, and board member. John and Myrna Heaton reside in Boone, North Carolina. Sources: Appalachian State University and long association. -Dr. Richard D. Howe

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