Joe Farmer Memorial

The entire video is 38 minutes long. It includes several minutes before and after the ceremony. The Bible reading begins at 12min 55sec and the ceremony ends at 31minutes. The remaining seven minutes includes the lowering of the casket. Most devices will allow you to use the slider to skip ahead.

Memorial Speaker’s Notes

We are gathered here to grieve the loss and to remember, honor, and celebrate the life of Joseph Ray Farmer, whom most knew as simply Joe. 

Joe was born March 25, 1942 to William Farmer in Anderson SC. 

With the loss of his birth mother at only one week of age, Joe was raised by his father’s second wife Edith, the only Mom he ever knew. He loved Edith and honored her with a memorable Mother’s Day sermon about Mothers of adopted children. Joe loved and honored both parents, attending to their needs until their death. 

Joe grew up mostly in Florida. The family moved to Leesburg in 1956. The eleven children were Joe, Fay (Hall), Billie Ann, Jerry, Mary Ann, David, Robert, EJ, Alford, Linda Fay,  and Veronica Gail

Joe’s sister Linda Fay died in 1958, after that they moved to Tampa. Three of Joe’s sisters passed away as infants. They were Billie Ann, Mary Ann, and Linda Fay. Billie Ann was born after Aunt Fay. Mary Ann was born after uncle Jerry and Linda Fay was Alford’s twin.. 

Two of Joe’s sisters remain alive, Gayle and Fay. All five brothers are still living: EJ, Robert, Alford, David, & Jerry. Joe was the first to pass into Eternity. 

After Joe graduated from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, he served for five years in the Navy.  Joe met Carolyn Marie Hatcher in Tampa through a friend while on shore leave and they were married on the 4th of July, 1963. 

Joe and Carolyn attended a Bible college in Buffalo NY. This is where Aaron was born. After Bible School, they returned to Tampa. The rest of their children were born in Tampa. 

Joe and Carolyn raised three sons Aaron, Timothy, and Philip; and one daughter Naomi. 

Joe and Carolyn were blessed with 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren including one great grandchild that sadly Joe and Carolyn had not met. 

Naomi’s children include Robert, Alex, and Rachel.

Tim’s children include Aimee, Benjamin, Levi, and Cody

Philip’s children include Alexis, Jacob, Mattie, and Wynnie 

Joe worked for the Hillsborough County Sheriff as Chief Engineer at the County Jail until he retired after 30 years of service. 

Everyone seems to know Joe. One day I was preparing a sheriff employee for surgery and I asked if they knew my friend Joe at the jail. Before they could answer, a voice came from behind the curtain separating the patients: “Joe is a good man. Loves his family. Loves the Lord.”  It turns out the patient in the next bay recently retired from the jail. 

In 1982 our family moved to Tampa so that I could go to school. Joe and Carolyn adopted us and they were soon like local grandparents to our children. They kept our children during childbirth, sickness, and even so Kitty and I could have an anniversary trip alone together. Joe and Carolyn introduced my girls to cultural things like the Webster flea market and I don’t know how many cousins on every car trip. 

If Joe planned a trip to help out at Camp Horizon in Leesburg, by the time Joe arrived he had already made several stops and performed repairs at the homes of what seems like an unlimited number of cousins along the way. 

One trip Joe made with me was to check on a food cooler that was offered to camp. He was telling our driver, a camp volunteer, that he lived on Sunnyside for a while as a boy. In fact his aunt died in an accident there. Now there is a famous story associated with the old white lake house next to Camp Horizon about a certain “Headless Woman”. On a dark and rainy night when the railroad crossed Sunnyside at the bottom of the hill, a woman dove under a train. Can you believe that this was Joe’s aunt. So Joe took us to the cemetery and showed us her grave.

Joe loved to sing and he loved to tell about his Savior. You could be anywhere with Joe and he would break out in song. One year I could not fit my girls and I into one canoe for the Father Daughter canoe trip so we asked Joe to play grandpa and come on the trip with us. Just as one of the girls framed a picture of a thousand white birds roosting in trees across the river ahead, Joe broke into song and spooked the flock. We still remember and laugh about that trip. 

In honor of Joe’s love of hymns, let us sing together one of Joe’s favorites. 

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL

Joe has been preaching regularly at a mobile home park in Tampa and has preached in several local assemblies. He was always ready to sing or lead singing at a moment’s notice. 

Though in fellowship at North 56th Street Gospel Chapel, Joe had a long relationship with Central Bible Chapel and he spoke there often. Joe was loved and welcome everyhere.

If it were allowed, this place would be packed with the many people whose lives were touched by Joe. Many are joining online this morning. 

Joe attended to everyone’s needs. Whether it was a broken down car or a faulty air conditioner Joe would come to the rescue for family, friends, or even a stranger. You could always call upon and depend upon Joe.

Joe was also known for always having a pocket of pens and miniature tools. It is thought that he could do most repairs with only what he carried in that pocket. 

One year at the 56th Street Christmas Follies, Al Adams dressed as Joe Farmer in a jumpsuit and had some tool or pen in every one of the many pockets. It still brings a smile today. 

My daughter Erin had an Uncle Joe moment this past week. She washed her coffee pot with soap and caught herself thinking “oh no! What would Joe Farmer say?”  He told her at a young age to never-ever put soap in a coffee pot. 

Joe loved his coffee. He would never let a coffee pot get dumped if he had his thermos near to save it. A coffee cup was never far from Joe.

Folks from the Saturday Prayer Breakfast recall that Joe loved to eat. He could never leave anything on his plate. Joe explained that in his house growing up, if you didn’t grab some grub, you didn’t eat. His son Tim remembered that no matter what was served, “everything needs salt”. So next to that coffee cup was always a salt shaker. 

Joe and Carolyn have opened their home to many folks through the years. Our family has spent Christmas and Thanksgiving with them several times through the years. Their hospitality is well known among the saints (to quote the Apostle Paul). 

Through the years Joe has served the Lord in many capacities.  Joe has driven Sunday School buses, taken young people camping and on other trips, preached, and sang. Joe and Carolyn have served a lot of people. Joe loved people, and Joe loved Jesus. Joe was not ashamed to tell you so. 

Joe would be embarrassed by all of the stories of his service to family, friends, and even strangers. But Joe would be thrilled that you heard about his faith in Jesus Christ. 

Yes, Joe lived a good and full life. Those are the words that his nurse told me that he said to her the night before he died. What matters most is the assurance that he is now what the Apostle Paul described as, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord “ Joe would love for you to have that same assurance, and you can. 

The Scriptures explain that while no man is truly righteous or seeks after God, God Himself became flesh and gave His life on a cross for sinful man. The one who puts their faith in Christ is then clothed in the righteousness of Christ and given the promise of Eternal Life. Will you trust in Christ today?

The body in this casket was made in the likeness of Adam whom God formed from the dust of the ground. And so from dust man came, to dust he shall return. So with Joe.

But the promise of God is a resurrection. Job was a man that lived about the time of Abraham. Concerning the promise of a resurrection he says,

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; 

I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another. 

How my heart yearns within me!”    Job‬ ‭19:25-27‬ 

Joe’s heart yearned to see his Redeemer, and was certain that he would. Do you have that assurance?  Have you placed your faith in Christ? Consider honoring Joe by trusting in his Lord. 

PRAYER

The family wishes to thank you all for joining us today to show your love for Joe and support of his family in their grief and loss. They would love to hear or read your memories of Joe. 

This concludes the public memorial service.