Born in Hillsville, Virginia on July 14, 1933, Joe Gray Shelton passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side on October 6, 2023 at the age of 90.
He is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Betty Dalton Shelton, daughters Lisa Farley (Bill), Jennifer Jarvis (Bill) and stepson he loved as his own, Jeff Johnson (Masako). Also surviving him are his beloved grandchildren, Logan Jarvis (Pate), Erik Johnson, (Rachel), Yusuke Johnson (Niki) and Hannah Westover (Baxter) as well as brother Don Shelton (Phyl) and sisters Georgia Butts and Pat Sappenfield, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and their families.
“Papa Joe” was a graduate of Hillsville High School, Johnson University (Johnson Bible College) and Phillips University. He was in the ministry for 19 years serving at Calfee Memorial Christian Church in Bluefield, West Virginia, Taloga Christian Church in Taloga, Oklahoma, and North Spray Christian Church, Eden, North Carolina. He then served as Campus Minister of his alma mater, Phillips University, for two years, relocated to Victoria, Texas and finally Farmville, North Carolina serving as pastor to the First Christian Church at both of those locations.
Relocating to Lynchburg in 1972, Joe began his “second” career in contract construction where he took great pride in the quality of his craftsmanship and providing homes for others to raise their families and build lasting memories.
Joe enjoyed traveling with his beloved wife Betty where they made many excursions in their motor homes with beach locations being some of their favorite travel destinations. Always the adventurist and builder, Joe built his own wooden boat and several airplanes and obtained his pilot’s license and enjoyed soaring uninhibited in the Texas skies. He enjoyed his golf days with his “buddies” in the Senior League at Ivy Hill Golf Course and at the age of eighty-nine obtaining every golfer’s crown jewel dream of a hole in one. Joe also became an avid and passionate fan of the Washington Nationals baseball team attending a few games in person and following his team nightly.
Joe was a most loving and patient husband, father, grandfather and a friend to many. He leaves behind family and friends that are truly blessed to have had him as part of their life, lots of happy memories and an abundance of smiles. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, George Walter and Rubye Davis Shelton, brothers Bill and Jim and brother in laws, Dan Butts and Guy Sappenfield.
The family will hold visitation on October 12, 2023 at 3 P.M. at Tharp Funeral Home in Lynchburg, Virginia immediately followed by a memorial service in the Tharp Funeral Chapel at 4 P.M.
Tharp Funeral Home and Crematory, Lynchburg is assisting the family