John L. VanAusdall Reading Pavilion dedicated August 6th

Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Members of the VanAusdall family in attendance for the dedication were (from left): Rogers and Ginny VanAusdall, Krissy VanAusdall Cunningham with her son, Dax Cunningham, Debbie and Steve VanAusdall with their granddaughter, Josie Cunningham

Friends and relatives were in attendance to honor the memory of John L. VanAusdall, Jr., who, during his lifetime was very generous to Caruthersville Public Library and other local and regional interests.

Born in 1920 in Caruthersville, “Johnny Van”, as he was known, was a philanthropist and served on many local and regional boards. He served as a member of the Caruthersville Public Library Board of Trustees from 1961 until 1972.

Upon his death in Memphis in 2007, he left bequests to many worthy causes around the area, besides Caruthersville Public Library: First Presbyterian Church of Caruthersville, which provided for many college scholarships that are still being awarded to the present time, the Presbyterian Women of that same church, in memory of family members who served as a part of that group for many years, the St. Luke’s and St. John’s Episcopal Church of Caruthersville, Caruthersville Humane Society, the Pemiscot County Youth Home, the American Cancer Society, Vanderbilt University, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Memphis Opera Society, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, the Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble, WKNO Public Television in Memphis, WKNO Public Radio in Memphis, along with many other charities that he provided for during his lifetime.

The reading pavilion which was named for him and remains a visible symbol of his love for reading and for Caruthersville Public Library was bid for construction in August of 2010 and completed in January of 2011. It is now dedicated with a beautiful monument, created by Glen Whitener and McHaney Monuments. Mayor Mike McGraw attended the ceremony and read a Proclamation, naming August 2017 as “John L. VanAusdall, Jr. Month” and his proclamation for the event will remain on display near the pavilion so that those who visit the library can understand the wonderful legacy this great man gave to the library and the city, as well as the surrounding area.