TUPELO – Joseph Webster ""Joe"" Gary, 86, born, April 4, 1927, in Byram to Albert West Gary and Allie Robinson Gary went to be with his Lord and Savior on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his daughters, Lynn and JoAnn, as well as extended family, to his eternal home in heaven.
Joe, the youngest of 14 children, spent his childhood years in Byram. He excelled in basketball and football during his school years, and upon graduation from Byram High School, signed a football scholarship with the Ole Miss Rebels. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Mississippi in 1945 and remained a life-long avid supporter through the University's Alumni Association.
Joe began his working career with Continental Can Company, having worked his way up the ranks to become active in executive management and in leadership positions in Tyler, Texas, Atlanta, Ga. and Jonesboro, La. In 1973, he moved to Tupelo, where he became co-owner of Great Southern Box Company with his longtime friend, A.T."Lonnie" White. Joe operated this highly successful corrugated box company until his retirement in 1989.
He was a devoted Christian and treasured his church, First Baptist of Tupelo, where he was a longtime and faithful member and served as Chairman of Deacons and in multiple leadership roles through the years. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Mississippi Baptist Convention, was a faithful supporter of the Baptist Children's Village, French Camp Academy, and Samaritan's Purse as well as many other charitable organizations, all centered around spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping others.
Joe had many enjoyable past-times which included reading, golfing, exercising and traveling. Most of all, he was a family man and enjoyed spending time with family members.
The man who loved life and taught his children to know and love the Lord is now safely in the arms of Jesus and dancing at the wedding feast of the Lamb. He will be missed as a husband, father, grandfather and friend.
A celebration of his life and Christian beliefs will be 1 p.m. today, Dec. 24, 2013, at First Baptist Church, Tupelo, with Dr. Gayle Alexander and Dr. Chad Grayson officiating. Friends and family will be afforded the opportunity to share remembrances and reflections.
Graveside services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 at Lakewood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi.
His spirit is carried on by his wife of 63 years, Nina Gary; two daughters, Lynn Gary Weber (Reinhart) of Dallas, Texas and JoAnn Gary Kennedy (Danny) of Tupelo; four grandchildren, Jennifer Lynn Poynor of Dallas,Texas, and John Brandon Poynor of Austin, Texas, Todd Collin Kennedy (Catherine Black Kennedy) of Tupelo, Daniel Christopher Kennedy (Emily Greenhill Kennedy) of Medina, Tennessee; and two great-grandchildren, Taylor Katherine Kennedy of Medina,Tennessee and Webster "Webb" Collin Kennedy of Tupelo.
He was preceded in death by his sisters, Lucile Davis, Aileen McCluer, Velma Cockerham and Sara Gladney; brothers, Will Albert Gary, Oliver Gary, Benjamin Gary, Vaughn Gary, Norton Gary, Ira Gary, and Malcolm Gary and Lester Gary both of whom lost their lives while serving their country in WWII
; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.
Pallbearers will be Todd Kennedy, Daniel Kennedy, and Thomas Craft, Jimmy Guin and Ricky Cooper.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jackie Ivy, Bill Crider, Dr. John Bolen and members of the First Baptist Adult Men's Sunday School Class.
Memorials may be made to The Baptist Children's Village, P.O. Box 27, Clinton, MS 39060-0027, French Camp Academy, One Fine Place, French Camp, MS 39745 or Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607-3000.
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.