John Lumpkin was a graduate of Columbia High School and attended the University of South Carolina. Upon graduation from USC in 1937, he entered Harvard Law School and graduated with an LL.B. degree in 1940. After leaving Harvard he was associated with the noted law firm of White and Case in New York City.
When World War II erupted, John entered the Navy, where he commanded a PT boat in the seas about the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge from sea duty, he entered the office of the Secretary of the Navy, where he continued to serve as a Lt. Commander until 1945. After the war, John returned to Columbia, entered the practice of law, and became one of the founding members of the firm of Boyd Bruton and Lumpkin. It was as a lawyer that his talents developed and were recognized by colleagues and business professional leaders in the state. In 1964 John was chosen to assume the presidency of South Carolina National Bank, the state’s largest banking institution at that time. He later served SCNB as Chairman of the Board and CEO, and retired in 1982.
John served as President of the State Chamber of Commerce, President of the Kiwanis Club, Commander of the American Legion Post 6, was Director of the Federal Reserve Board in Richmond, VA, member of the Human Affairs Commission, and director of several industrial and insurance organizations. He was a recipient of the prestigious Order of the Palmetto award.
John Lumpkin married Caroline Sparrow Dalton of North Carolina and had two children: John Lumpkin, Jr., and Carolina Lumpkin Sozzi.