MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Obituaries

August 21, 2012

Joe A. Rector

1935 - 2012

Joe A. Rector, Sr., 77, passed away August 19, 2012 in Destin, Florida with his family at his side. He is survived by his beloved wife of 33 years, Deborah L. Rector.

He was born to the late Hugh Rector and Alice Williams-Harris, August 12, 1935, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was preceded in death by his parents and his step-father, Leslie Harris. Joe graduated from Central High School in Muskogee and went on to attend Muskogee Junior College, then received his degree from Northeastern State University as a Summa Cum Laude. He later went on to receive additional accreditation as a teacher from Oklahoma State University.

He was blessed with a large family and is survived by his children, Joe A. Rector, Jr. and wife Ann Rector, Terri Rector-Russell and husband Todd Russell, Leslie E. Rector, Michael L. Rector, Roy Q. Rector, Letitia Rector-Williams and husband Jonathan Williams, Wm. Alex Rector and adopted grandson, Elijah Rector, all of Destin, Florida. “Papa Joe”  also has 11 grandchildren, Ashley Scott, Heather Newbury, Joe A. Rector III, Austin Rector, Autumn Russell, Daniel Birdsong, Josh Birdsong, Faith Birdsong, Mercy Rector, Jonathan Hayden Williams Jr. and Hannah Monroe Williams. He also has 4 great-grandchildren, Ian Scott, Ava Scott, Mia Scott and Havyn Newbury and a beloved grand dog, Laila Jo Russell.

Also surviving is his closest friend and uncle, Bill Rector and wife Betty, and children, Steve Rector of Dripping Springs, Texas, Kathy Gatewood of Garland, Texas, Jim Rector of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Monta Wakefield of Greenwood, Arkansas. Joe has many other cousins and relatives that reside in and around Muskogee, such as Patsy Beaver, who always held a special place in his heart.

Joe is remembered as a longtime resident of Muskogee and was known for many different aspects of his full life. From his humble beginnings as a child growing up amongst the farmers markets along Main and Second Streets he dreamed and dreamed big. He became a champion weightlifter, setting several state records, two national and one world record and started one of the first gyms in Muskogee. He worked for H.B. Egan Mfg. Co. before becoming a school teacher at Alice Robertson Junior High, then later with Indian Capital Area Vo-Tech School. For a brief period he taught high school and coached wrestling in Scappoose, Oregon. Joe and his Uncle Bill were also known by many across eastern Oklahoma as “The Firecracker Kings” for many decades. In the early 1970’s he began to focus primarily on what may have been his greatest passion, art. He has been recognized with many awards over the years for his uplifting portrayal of western and Native American art. His work displays his belief in the spiritual and enduring nature of man’s ability to achieve their goals and maintain honor in doing so. In addition to these endeavors, he was also an accomplished musician, known for his renditions of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash songs and many times would perform spiritual songs for some of the area churches.

Service will be held, Friday August 24th, 2pm. Lifepoint Church, 2200 S. 32nd St. Muskogee, Ok. 74401, with Pastor Jack Manley presiding along with Minister Marshall Horn and Pastor David Howell speaking as well. Carol Howell of Muskogee will provide song. Honorary Pall Bearers will be Bill Rowland, Bill Farmer, Dennis Mullins, Carl Kelly, Billy Parker and Bronson Bebee.

Joe A. Rector, Sr. leaves a lasting legacy that people remember and say of him, “He was a very good man.”

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