John Martin Wharton Jr., 68, passed away Friday December 5, 2014, at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, FL.

Connor and John enjoying ice cream on the porch at the Community Store.
Connor and John enjoying ice cream on the porch at the Community Store.

John is survived by his wife Kati Wharton of Ocracoke, NC; his son John M. Wharton III and daughter-in-law Melissa Wharton of Inverness, FL; his daughter Amanda W. Brooks and son-in-law Robert M. Brooks of Greer, SC; four grandchildren (John IV, Sophie, Jordan and Jacob), and his former wife Carolyn Burnett of Graycourt, SC.

John was born October 12, 1946 in Columbia, SC. The only child of John Sr. and Marguerite Gramling Wharton, he grew up in Atlanta, GA. He returned to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He graduated in 1969 with a degree in Business, in the bottom half of his class. He liked to say “someone has to make the top half possible!”

After graduation, he attended Army Officer Candidate School in Ft. Devens, MA. He married Carolyn Hipp on June 1, 1968 and they had two children, John III (1970) and Amanda (1974). The family lived in Mauldin, SC where John owned and managed shoe stores for a few years, followed by a country general store named Babb’s Grocery in Graycourt, SC for ten years. After selling that store, he sold Kirby vacuums before becoming a Sales Manager for Telecable. He moved to Broward, FL in 1991 with Telecable, and he and Carolyn divorced in 1993.

In 1994, he moved to High Point NC, where he married Kati Sinclair on October 3, 1998. They lived in High Point for six years before moving to Ocracoke Island in 2004. In High Point, John was a dedicated member of Grace Church and enjoyed volunteering with both the Helping Hands Food Pantry and the Power House ministry for less fortunate children. While on Ocracoke, John enjoyed making jewelry featuring sharks teeth, shells, and other beach objects. He had an artisan space at the Ocrafolk Festival in 2010, which lost money because he gave jewelry to every child (and several adults) who stopped by his table, giving away far more than he sold. John and Kati were the innkeepers for the Cove Bed & Breakfast for two years, leaving in 2008 when they adopted their nephew Connor, who would live with them for the first three and a half years of his life. John adored Connor and was seen eating ice cream with him on the porch of the Ocracoke Community Store on a nearly-daily basis. When Kati suggested that Connor perhaps shouldn’t eat ice cream every single day, John said “why not?” – a sentiment which went along very well with his general philosophy: “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” Kati is quite sure that at this moment, in heaven, John is either playing with his beloved dog Chase, or eating dessert.

John wished to be cremated, and the family will hold a private ceremony in the spring to scatter his ashes. If you would like to honor John’s life with a donation, please consider giving to Ocracoke Foundation ( – please specify “CSRP” in the “Designation” field and note “John Wharton Memorial Fund” in the “Dedication or Gift” field) or the American Heart Association (