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George Joyner Jr.

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George Joyner Jr. Obituary
George Joyner Jr.
Suffolk - George Richardson "Dick" Joyner, Jr., 81, of Durham, N.C. passed away on November 13, 2012, at his home. He was a devoted husband, loving father, and loyal friend. He was married for 54 years to his high school sweetheart and first love Elizabeth "Betty" West Birdsong Joyner, who passed away four years ago. He was preceded in death by his sisters Frances Bowie Joyner Kitchin and Marion Fendall Joyner Watson, as well as his son-in-law Jay Stewart. He is survived by his daughter Nancy Stewart of Asheville, NC; daughter Elizabeth Taylor and husband Jeff of Richmond, VA; son George Richardson "Rick" Joyner III, of Cary, NC; two grandchildren Morgan and Richardson Joyner; brother-in-law Hall Franklin Birdsong, Jr.; nieces Frances Watson Clark, Sharyn Birdsong Flintoff, Jennifer West Birdsong, Elisabeth Birdsong Bulkin, Martha Birdsong Trapani, and their respective families.
Dick was happiest when he was at home with his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family or when he was attending a Duke basketball or football game. He was born in Norfolk, VA on May 27, 1931 to George Richardson Joyner, Sr. and Lucile Bowie Joyner. He grew up in Suffolk, VA, except for a few years during WWII, when his family moved to Battle Creek Michigan while his father was a medical doctor at the Army Hospital there. The family returned to Suffolk after the war and he attended Suffolk High School, where he played football. During the summer after graduation, "The Fearless Four" Parker Cross, Charles Hosier, Richard Sykes, and Dick bicycled from Suffolk, VA to Key West, FL and back. It was one of the highlights of his life. After high school, he enrolled at Duke University but left to join the United States Coast Guard, where he was stationed on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He then married, raised a family, and owned the Atlantic Supply Company in Suffolk, selling fire engines and fire equipment. Dick was an aviation enthusiast and acquired his pilot's license in Suffolk. He also served on the board of Riddick's Folly historic site and was on the vestry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Suffolk- Nansemond Historical Society, Suffolk Sports Club and Elks Club. Golf became his sport of choice and he played some of the best courses in the world during his travels with Betty. In 1984, Dick and Betty moved to Durham where he resumed his education at Duke University and graduated in 1990. It was one of his proudest achievements. In Durham, he and Betty volunteered for Meals on Wheels and he was a well respected volunteer for PORCH-Durham. He enjoyed working with the group in collecting food so that local schools could fill backpacks for children to take home on the weekends. Dick was an "Iron Duke" and active participant of the Blue Devil Club who could be found either at a game or faithfully watching his team on television.
The family will receive visitors at the home in Durham from 4 - 8 p.m. Friday, November 16. A funeral service will be held in Suffolk at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 17, at the Joyner gravesite in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suffolk, VA. Dr. Robert A. Spivey will conduct the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 Finney Ave, Suffolk, VA, 757-923-0003; Duke University Hospital; or a . R.W. Baker and Co. Funeral Home & Crematory, 509 W. Washington Street, Suffolk, VA is serving the family. Condolences may be registered at www.rwbakerfh.com.

Published in The Virginian Pilot on Nov. 16, 2012
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