Joseph H. Stargel Jr., 86, of Gainesville passed away Monday, June 17, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was born in Gainesville, and except for his service in the Marine Corps, was a lifelong resident.
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Joe attended Gainesville High School, and then obtained his college degree at night, after returning from his first tour of duty in the Marine Corps, in 1946. He married his childhood sweetheart, Gloria Cassity Stargel, in 1948, and moved to California for a short time, while serving his second tour of duty with the Marines, returning to Gainesville to raise their family. He obtained his law degrees and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia. For over 25 years, he was corporate counsel and office manager for Law Construction Co., in Gainesville. During this time, he was also elected to the city commission of Gainesville, serving as mayor in 1972-1973. During his term as mayor, the city of Gainesville experienced racial tension, which threatened to escalate into a full-fledged riot. Joe displayed an unusually high degree of leadership during this period, and was awarded the Citizen Award from the local Civitan Club for his "coolness under great pressure and astute handling of a potentially very dangerous racial disturbance." In 1976, he was appointed administrative law judge for the Georgia State Board of Worker's Compensation, a position he held until his retirement in May of 1994.
During this time, he remained a proud and passionate member of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, obtaining several promotions before being named a lieutenant colonel, before his retirement. In 2000, Joe received the Joe T. LaBoon Award from the Marine Corps Association Georgia Lawyers and the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Atlanta. Only presented when the council decides that a particular individual is deserving of this honor, its purpose is to honor a Marine who closely reflects the attributes of character, hard work, commitment to country and community, compassion and total appreciation of the worth of the individual person as did the late Joe T. LaBoon.
Joe's professional affiliations include membership in the State Bar of Georgia, Gainesville-Northeastern Bar Association, American Bar Association and the American Judicature Society. He was admitted to practice in the Superior Courts of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Federal District Court. He also was appointed by then-Gov. Jimmy Carter to serve a term on the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority during the mid-'70s in the early days of the development of the recreation/resort complex.
Joe was a member and previously served on the Board of Trustees of Lakewood Baptist Church, member secretary and past director of the Gainesville Civitan Club, member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Gloria Cassity Stargel, who passed away in March of this year. He was also preceded in death by his parents, Joseph H. Stargel Sr. and Josie Cato Stargel; as well as his brother, Louis R. Stargel.
Joe is survived by his son, Joseph Randall Stargel, Atlanta; son, Richard Cassity Stargel Sr. and his wife, Lisa, Sapphire Valley, N.C.; and their son, Richard Cassity Stargel Jr., Marietta. In addition, he is survived by his sister, Louise Stargel Christy, Gainesville; and a number of nieces; nephews; and other relatives.
Funeral services will be held noon Friday, June 21, 2013, in the chapel of Little & Davenport Funeral Home. Dr. Tom Smiley and Dr. Jerry Gill will officiate. The family will receive friends at Little & Davenport Funeral Home on Friday from 10 a.m. until the service hour. Interment will be in Alta Vista Cemetery.
Those wishing to make online condolences may do so at www.littledavenport.com.
Little & Davenport Funeral Home, 355 Dawsonville Highway, S.W., Gainesville, GA 30501, is in charge of arrangements.
Little & Davenport, Gainesville
Little-Davenport Funeral Home
355 Dawsonville Highway Southwest
Gainesville, GA 30501
Published in gainesvilletimes.com on June 20, 2013