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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Remembering John Jointer, a gracious athlete

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Alexander Seawood remembers meeting a 12-year-old John Jointer Sr. at the Capital City Church School gym in the mid-1970s. 

Jointer and other kids went to the gym on Sunday afternoons to play basketball. Seawood was a church elder at the time and admired how Jointer was never afraid to play against grown men. 

“I thought he handled it quite well,” said Seawood, who now lives just outside of Huntsville, Alabama. 

Jointer never stopped playing basketball. He also never stopped living out the lessons he learned by watching fierce competitors on the court still respect one another, becoming known as someone who was just as gracious as he was competitive. 

Jointer died June 24 at 57 years old due to heart issues.

Led by his sister, Debra Wilburn, family and friends want Jointer’s legacy to live on. Wilburn created a GoFundMe campaign — Jointer’s Family Brotherly and Sisterly Love — with the goal of raising $100,000 by the end of 2021 to donate to school athletics and education programs across the country. 

“The legacy is having a giving spirit,” Wilburn said of her late brother. “He would touch other lives so it would recycle through others.” 

Jointer was known to hand out $20 here and there for gas or lunch if he hadn’t seen you in a while. Wilburn said he worked overtime at Citizens Energy Group so he would have enough extra money to help other families during the holidays. 

But before all of that, Jointer’s love was basketball. He played on the team at Thomas Carr Howe High School and was good enough to draw interest from some smaller college basketball programs. Jointer was born with a heart murmur, though, and was nervous about playing at a higher level. Plus, Wilburn said, he would have been afraid to fly to games. 

“Can I drive?” he would ask college coaches. They said no. 

Jointer took a job at Citizens out of high school and worked there for 38 years until his death. He kept playing basketball, though — on the company team, on friends’ companies’ teams, on the church team. 

He never lost his edge, either. 

“John was definitely very competitive,” said George Harris III, who knew Jointer from church. “He was always trying to win.” 

The two played together on the Indianapolis Eastside Seventh-Day Adventist Church team, which is where Harris used to be the youth leader. It’s also where Jointer had a reputation for getting involved wherever he was needed, especially when it came to the youth. 

“Every time I asked him to contribute or donate or come to a program, he was always willing,” Harris said. “If it wasn’t his time, it was his finances.” 

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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