WILLIAM RUFUS JOYNER
Born: August 6th, 1944
Died: September 17th, 2023
ROCKY MOUNT - William "Rufus" Joyner, Jr., age 79, passed away on Sunday, September 17, 2023. Born in Edgecombe County, NC on August 6, 1944, he was the son of the late William Rufus Joyner, Sr. and Flara Mae Rose Joyner. He was preceded in death by his loving wife of almost 42 years, Patricia Gail Casey Joyner, also known as GiGi to her precious grandchildren. Her long and courageous battle with Multiple Sclerosis ended in January 2015. He was also preceded in death by his sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy Joyner Flora and William Warren Flora; and his brother-in-law, Roy Jackson Casey.
Rufus grew up in Edgecombe County, making many lifelong friends. He graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High in 1962 and then proudly served three years in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant. He was assigned to the 8th Infantry Division and served most of his time in Bad Krueznach, Germany. Using the Gl Bill, he later graduated from Appalachian State University with a Business degree. After spending many years in the corporate world, Rufus became a long-distance truck driver, the profession that gave him the most pleasure. He was a faithful member of Sunset Avenue Baptist Church where he was a Meals on Wheels volunteer and served on several committees. Rufus was an avid NC State basketball fan and Atlanta Braves baseball fan. He and Matthew traveled to Atlanta numerous times to watch the Braves play; and in recent years, they were joined by Wright. Nothing gave Rufus more joy, though, than being Papa to his beloved grandchildren and cheering from the sidelines at all their sporting events. Hearing "Papa" was sweet music to his ears. You will be missed Papa.
Those left to cherish Rufus' memory are his devoted wife, Martha Lowe Joyner; his son, Matthew Ryan Joyner and wife, Dana, of Raleigh; his grandson, Wright Jennings Joyner; his granddaughter, Reynolds Mae Joyner; Dana's parents, Jim and Rita Jennings; brother-in-law, Allen Casey and Anne; his nieces, Kim Flora Shields and husband, Brad, and Jennifer Adams; his nephews, Mike Flora and wife, Ella, and Pat Flora and wife, Brenda. Also surviving are Martha's children, Karen Gaither and Tommy Bottoms and wife, Liz, and grandchildren, Lauren and Caitlin Gather and Emma and Brewer Bottoms; Martha's sisters, Sandy Kelso and husband, Don, Patty Fletcher, Karen Wallace and husband, James; and her brother, Steve Lowe and Paula. Rufus is also survived by numerous great-nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A Funeral Service to celebrate Rufus' life will be held on Friday, September 22, 2023, at 11:30 AM in the Chapel of Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services with Dr. Robin Fisher officiating. Entombment will follow the service at Rocky Mount Memorial Park Chapel of Memories Mausoleum. Visitation with the family will be from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM prior to the service in the Atrium of Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home.
The family would like to express our deepest gratitude to the staff at Nash UNC Health Care Palliative and Hospice Care. Their support for the family and care for Rufus during this difficult time was immeasurably comforting.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials to Sunset Avenue Baptist Church, 3732 Sunset Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804; National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Carolinas Chapter, 3101 Industrial Drive, Suite 210, Raleigh, NC 27609; or Nash UNC Health Care Palliative and Hospice Care, 2460 Curtis
Ellis Drive, Rocky Mount, NC 27804.
Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler & Woodlief Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 1130 N. Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting www.wheelerwoodlief.com.