Cover photo for Joe Thomas Channell's Obituary
1929 Joe 2023

Joe Thomas Channell

July 6, 1929 — November 4, 2023

Stapleton, GA


Joe Thomas Channell, affectionately known as JT to his siblings, nieces and nephews, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning, November 4, 2023 at his residence. Funeral services to celebrate his life will be held in the James Funeral Home Chapel on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM officiated by the Reverends Chad Watkins, Stan Littleton and Ron Dixon.  Interment with military honors will follow in the Wrens Memorial Cemetery.

Born in Sandersville, Joe was one of ten children of the late Lucy Shirling Channell and the late Willis Alexander Channell.  Growing up on a family farm, he understood the value of perseverance from a young age. Although he had to leave school to assist his family, he gained more than a formal education while serving in the Air Force during the Korean War.  A proud patriot, he gladly served from November 1951 until July 1954, being stationed in both Japan and California. It was during his time in the Air Force that Joe met Mary Frances Smith. Their bond grew strong, leading them to exchange vows on November 26, 1955. Together they built a loving home in the Wrens/Stapleton area in November 1956.  Mary Frances supported Joe throughout their journey together and brought immense joy to his life.

Joe's professional career was diverse and filled with commitment. He began working at Lewis Steelworks for one year before devoting sixteen years of diligent service to the Georgia-Tennessee Mining Company. Following this chapter, he spent seventeen years at J.M. Huber (now Kamin), even taking occasional trips to Edisto SC for work. During that time, he obtained his electrician's license and put it to use at Atwell Pecan Company for two years as an electrician. After retiring from formal employment, Joe continued to serve his community as a local electrician and handyman.

Those who knew JT were well aware of his warm heart and infectious sense of humor. He loved people deeply and never encountered a stranger; everyone truly felt like an instant friend in his presence. Joe was renowned as the "man with a million jokes" and always had a witty remark or two for anyone he came across. His laughter was contagious, brightening the lives of those fortunate enough to hear his jokes.

Beyond his professional endeavors and comedic talent, Joe had a wide range of hobbies and interests. He had green thumbs that worked magic in his garden and generously shared the fruits of his labor with others. Joe's kindness extended to preserving the surplus as well; he would often can or freeze produce for later enjoyment. Another passion of Joe's was raising goats, leading some to affectionately refer to him as "the goat man." He took genuine joy in camping, fishing, and spending quality time with family and friends at the lake. However, his greatest source of happiness lay in his unwavering love for his family, a love that transcended words and touched their lives deeply. 

Having accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior as a young man, Joe faithfully and actively served his Lord at Wrens Christian Fellowship Church (formerly Wrens United Methodist Church) until his health decline.  He also served as a volunteer with the Baptist Association Disaster Relief for many years, helping in Florida, St. Louis and North Georgia.

Joe was also preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Mary Frances Smith Channell; brothers, George Channell and Floyd Channell; and sister, Alice Duggan. Those left to cherish his memory include his son, Kenneth Channell (Linda); granddaughter, Mary Lynn Channell; six siblings, Nola Ennis, Carolyn Smith, Herman Channell (Barbara Ann), Jane Wells, Catherine Hawkins, and Emilee Jackson; his beloved Yorkie, Lady; a multitude of nieces, nephews, church family and friends. Serving as pallbearers will be Ed Chance, Wayne Favors, Jerry Gage, John A. Jenkins, Larry Rhodes, David Williams, Lee Woods and William Wren.

Friends may greet the family at James Funeral Home from 5:00-8:00 PM Tuesday evening, November 7, 2023.

The family respectfully request that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to Wrens Christian Fellowship Church, earmarked for the Building Fund, 202 Russell Street, Wrens, GA 30833.

The family also wishes to extended their most heartfelt thanks to Cheryl Burke and the staff of Regency Hospice for their loving kindness and care.  After Mary Frances’ passing, they are also grateful for the joy and comfort that he found with Lady, his little Yorkie who died two months ago.

Joe's life journey was one of unquestionable faith, hard work, resilience, and ceaseless humor that brought joy to countless lives. We do have the hope and assurance that Joe is no longer suffering and is worshipping his Savior and reaping his just rewards in his eternal home in Heaven. As we bid farewell to this remarkable individual, let us remember him with smiles on our faces, and joy, peace and laughter in our hearts.  

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joe Thomas Channell, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

11:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

12:00 - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Wrens Memorial Cemetery

Hill St, Wrens, GA 30833

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