John C. Fletcher
The Reverend John Capers Fletcher (born 1900 in Arab, Marshall County; died March 3, 1988 in Alexandria, Virginia) was the pastor of St John's Episcopal Church for the Deaf in Birmingham for 45 years and was the founder of numerous congregations for the hearing-impaired across the Southeast.
Fletcher, son of a Baptist minister, lost his hearing at the age of four when a lightning bolt struck him unconscious for a week. He graduated from the Alabama School for the Deaf in Talladega and went on to Gallaudet University in Washington and the Philadelphia Episcopal Seminary. He met Estelle Caldwell, deaf since age six, at Gallaudet.
Fletcher began his ministry in Birmingham in 1929, married Estelle in 1930, and was named pastor of St John's in 1931. He remained at that post until his retirement in 1976, but traveled frequently to help establish churches for the hearing-impaired all over the South.
He and his wife, the former Estelle Caldwell, had four children - John Jr, Louise, Roberta and Georgianna. All four were born hearing and were sent to Bryan, Texas each summer and for year-long stays individually to learn from hearing relatives.
Fletcher died in 1988 of a heart attack.
- "Rev. John Fletcher, 87; Ministered to the Deaf" (March 16, 1988) obituary. New York Times.
- Robertson, Nan (April 1976) "The Fletchers: Family that heard the silent thanks". New York Times.