Library of Virginia Establishes John Maynard Poythress Genealogical Research Collection

JMPGenelogicalResearchCollection_Accession 52087

Biographical Information for John Maynard Poythress

Poythress, John Maynard (1934-2012). Born in Macon, GA, the oldest child of three to John Maynor and Dorothy Bayne Poythress. Maynard was a graduate of Mercer University with a degree in English literature. After a short stint as a stock broker, Maynard began working in the customer service section of Inland Container in August 1960. He became a salesman in the company and was promoted to the position of sales manager for the company’s Dallas, TX plant in 1968.

In 1970 Maynard was named the general manager of the Inland plant in Louisville, a position that he held until his retirement in 1996. During his 26-year tenure, along with operating one of the most profitable plants in the country, Maynard mentored a number of people who went on to very successful careers and lives thanks to his guidance and leadership.

Always the Southern gentleman, Maynard enjoyed fly-fishing, canoeing, and genealogical research, including tracing his family history to 12th century Scotland.

Maynard’s chosen handle, V.K. Ratliff, is a Faulkner character who appears most notably in the Snopes trilogy but also in several other Faulkner novels and short stories. V.K. Ratliff, an itinerant sewing machine salesman, was perhaps the most admirable character in all Faulkner’s fiction. Country-born-and-bred, straddling the country and the town, Ratliff combines the intelligence and sensitivity of the town-bred protagonists with the down-to-earth character of the country people. V.K. Ratliff in the chronicles of Yoknapatawpha provides a positive, eloquent character whose humanistic attitudes and sound ethical and moral values are essentially the same as Faulkner, and Maynard Poythress himself.

Maynard was married to Jean Knott Poythress for 54 years. They had two children, Leigh Poythress Wilson (Dewayne) and John Maynard Poythress III (Michele) and grandchildren, Jason Wilson, John Wilson, Dalton Poythress and Laine Poythress.