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Major Wooten served in World War II and worked as a railroad car carpenter in Paris. Jack’s Family Restaurant has named Wooten as a “Granfluencer.” PHOTO / Holly Wooten McDonald

World War II vet Major Wooten named ‘Granfluencer’ by Jack’s restaurants

MADISON – Major Wooten, a 103-year-old veteran of World War II, now has the role of “Granfluencer” with Jack’s Family Restaurants.

Jack’s held its Granfluencer Contest (for ‘grandparent influencers’) in August to identify local grandparents as new faces of their brand. Jack’s encouraged grandchildren to submit their grandparent’s photo and an explanation of why their relative deserved the honor.

Ten Granfluencers and their nominators will receive free Jack’s food for a year and a custom swag pack. Jack’s crowned one grand prize winner as the Ultimate Granfluencer, who will be featured in a Jack’s advertisement.

“We are proud to be honoring and giving recognition to our longtime customers in our search for a new generation of influencers,” Jack’s CEO Todd Bartmess said. “We take pride in the family values instilled in our loyal fans and (identified) customers who represent our Southern roots, charm and flavor.”

Major Wooten seemed destined to serve in the military with his distinctive first name. Major was born in 1916 in Winston County and grew up in the Arley area with 11 siblings. The older boys, including Major, quit school to work as farm sharecroppers after their father died of a brain aneurysm in 1929.

During World War II, Major was drafted into the U.S. Army in June 1943, “just three months after his son Larry (my father) was born,” granddaughter Holly Wooten McDonald said. “Major would not see his firstborn until he was three years old when Major returned after the war. He served until February 1946.”

Major was one of four brothers who served in World War II: Major in France; Felton in Germany; Earl in the Pacific; and 19-year-old Jack, who died Oct. 16, 1944 in Italy after stepping on a landmine.

Major Wooten completed Basic Training in New Orleans and finished Technical Training in Ohio. He served as a railroad car carpenter stationed in Paris, and his rank was Private 1st Class Major.

Major and his wife Jewel Cox Wooten moved to Birmingham in 1942 for his job at US Steel, where he retired after 40 years. Major and Jewel were married 75 years at her death in 2016.

At age 99, Major traveled twice with Honor Flight to Washington D.C. He continues to inspire his family with his carpentry and gardening regimen in raised beds. After working, he often relaxes while sipping a frosty milkshake from Jack’s.

Since opening their first location in Homewood in 1960, Jack’s has served communities throughout Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia at more than 180 locations. For more information, visit eatatjacks.com or Facebook/Jack’s.

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