Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Crestwood Chapel for Joe Rattray Awbrey, 83, Leesburg, who passed away Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. The Rev. Daniel Pope will officiate. Burial will be in Crestwood Cemetery. Crestwood Funeral Home is in charge.
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Mr. Awbrey was born on Nov. 18, 1929, in Leesburg, and was the son of John Emmett "Joe" Awbrey Jr. and Bernice Rattray Awbrey. He was the grandson of John Emmett Awbrey Sr. and Jeddie Moon Awbrey and Charles McWhorter Rattray and Carrie Cannon Rattray. He lived all of his life in Cherokee County, and grew up in the Pollards Bend community. He graduated from Cherokee County High School in 1948 and attended Gadsden State Community College for several quarters.
After the death of his father, he took charge of the family farm and worked hard to make it successful. Before Weiss Dam was built, he fought the Alabama Power Company in court to get better land prices for his family and others in the community, and he successfully won the battle, even though the odds were against him.
After Weiss Dam was built and most of the family farm was inundated with water, he later began working at Crestwood Memorial Cemetery. After several years of working there, he used the money he won in the court decision to purchase the cemetery from the owner.
After successfully managing the cemetery for several years, he built Crestwood Funeral Home in 1974. He continued to run the funeral home and cemetery until he sold it in 1996.
Although most people would have retired at this point, he spent the rest of his active life in land development.
Mr. Awbrey was active in several organizations in the cemetery and funeral home industries and served as president of the Alabama Funeral Directors Association, president of the Alabama Cemetery Association, and the Southern Cemetery Association. He also was a past member of the Lions Club and the Gadsden Jaycees.
Mr. Awbrey was an avid gardener and loved to fish and hunt, being a member of the Big Swamp Hunting Club. He also enjoyed flying planes, especially Cessnas, and owned several different planes over the years.
Mr. Awbrey is survived by his wife, Louise Pope Awbrey; son, John C. Awbrey; daughters, Gina Pineiro and Julie Awbrey; granddaughters, Alyssa Alexander, Amber Najm and Andrea Ablordeppey; grandson, Justin Wyatt; sister, Doris Awbrey Pearson; sisters-in-law, Mildred (Venson) Butts and Sula Pope; brothers-in-law, Frank Pope, Jim (Betsy) Pope; nephews, Eddie Pope, Terry Pope, Daniel Pope, James Pope, Darrin Pope and Byron Pope; nieces, Leigh Ann Hester, Jennie Eubanks, Katrina Hubbard, Kristie Shields, Pam Murphy, Lisa Brasher and Tammy Haverland.
The family has requested no flowers and request donations be made to the Joe Awbrey Memorial Scholarship Fund c/o the Alabama Teachers Credit Union, 702 Walnut St., Gadsden, AL 35901.
The family will receive relatives and friends tonight at Perry Funeral Home in Centre, from 4 until 7 p.m.
The family will receive relatives and friends on Tuesday night at Crestwood Funeral Home from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Crestwood Memorial Funeral Home - Gadsden
2209 East Broad Street
Gadsden, AL 35903
Published in The Gadsden Times on Nov. 26, 2012