Obituary for Joe East Jr.
Brother East has certainly etched his mark in the East Family, his community and all that he encountered. He hails from Montpelier, Lousisana, which is located in St. Helena Perish. His parents were the late Mr. Joe East, Sr. and Mrs. April East. Joe was a man of faith and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior at the young age of 9 years old. He was baptized in the Tickfaw River in 1942 by the late Rev. Robert Williams at the Mr. Zion Baptist Church in Montpelier, LA. For the past 26 years Joe was a proud and devoted member of the New Light Missionary Bapist Church of Baton, Rouge, LA under the pastorial leadership of Dr. Gil H. Wright.
Joe joined the US Army in 1950 at the age of 18. He was a proud member of the 101st Airborne also known as the "Screaming Eagles". He was a paratrooper and Artillery Surveyor and fought in the Korean War and served two tours in the Vietnam War. He was a decorated soldier receiving several awards for devoted service to his country. His Decorations, Commendations and Citations include the following: Bronze Star Medal w/1 Oak Leaf ClusterArmy Commendation MedalRepublic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/PalmAir MedalMeritorious Unit CitationGood Conduct Medal (5th Award)Civil Actions Honor Medal 1st ClassNational Defense Service Medal w/1 Bronze Service Star Vietnam Service Medal w/1 Silver Service StarExpert Badge w/Carbine Bar with Rifle Bar
Joe retired from the United States Army in 1972 after 22 years of honorable service. He returned to Baton Rouge and joined the United States Postal Service. While working as a Mail Carrier he attended Southern University in the evenings and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. He was beloved and respected by his colleagues at work and by those fortunate enough to be customers on his routes. He was known as a peacekeeper, who always had a kind word and a warm smile to share.
Joe was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Prostate Cancer in 1992 and was given 5 years to live. Like most challenges in his life he met this one head on and vowed to defeat this dreaded disease. He decided to make a lifestyle change and began to focus on his health. He continued to work while receiving cancer treatments and after 25 years of service Joe retired from the United States Post Office 1997. His doctors started to refer to him as their "miracle patient" because he far exceeded their original diagnoses. At the time of his death Joe's PSA count was zero. That's right he was cancer free!
Joe lived a very active retirment life and enjoyed travelling with his long time companion Myrtle Barnett. He was a huge football fan and loved his New Orleans Saints. You could recognize him as he drove around town by the New Orleans Saints flags he had on his Lincoln Continential. He spent countless hours as a sitter and caregiver to members of his family and firends. He was extremely generous and was known for helping people in general. He lived by the motto of the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and "just do the right thing".
In Febrary 2016 Joe suffered a massive stroke. The stroke affected his right side and limited his mobility but, it didn't limit has faith in God and it didn't limit his postive spirit. The man who had been so supportive to so many in their time of need now required support. A special thanks to his long time companion Mrytle Barnett. His nieces Gail Kibodi Smith and Sandra Jackson, his sister Ella East, his church family and a host of other family members, neighbors and friends for their love and support. In June of 2016 Joe moved to Phoenix, AZ to be closer to his son Lenard East.
He leaves to cherish his memories(1) Son Lenard East, daughter-in-law, Brenda East; granddaughter, Taliah Johnson and grandson-in-law Kristofer Johnson; great granddaughters, Ava Johnson and Zola Johnson; grandsons, Julius East and Ulysses East (all of Tolleson AZ), A loving and devoted companion Myrtle Barnett (Baton Rouge , La) ,(1) sister- Ella East and (1) brother -Walter East (both from Baton Rouge La) and a host of nieces and nephews . He was proceeded in death by : His parents , Joe N East Sr, and April Susie East , 6 Sisters-Bessie M. Salsberry , Mary E. Hurst & Martha E. Chaney -(Baton Rouge LA) Myrtis E.Robinson(Chicago IL), Vyrtis East(Montpelier La), Susan Rose Butler(Baton Rouge LA) and 6 Brothers- Retired Sgt. Major Jesse East (College Park GA) Samuel East , Frank R. East, Frank East,(all of BR La)Curtis East (Chicago , IL) and James East(Montpelier La)