American Patriotic 10

Kerry Joe Wharton

July 9, 1953 ~ November 16, 2021 (age 68)


Born in Lexington, KY, Joe's family moved to Huntsville, AL when he was one year old. His father was a Ph.D. Chemist and had secured employment on Redstone Arsenal. The family grew and his parents welcomed five children into the Wharton family. Henry, "Hank" born in 1949, Joe, Sister Jackie, Thomas "Tommy", and Robyn Sue.

As a young boy, tween, and teenager, Joe enjoyed playing outside and was adept at finding "fun" activities such as camping in a pup tent, riding his bike with a banana seat, and practicing wheelies, and building a minibike with another friend.

Joe was very inquisitive, perceptive, and curious about many things. Even though he had all these traits to lead to success in life, school was just a necessity until he could get home and do "more important" activities than homework! He graduated from Grissom High in 1972.

After taking a series of dead-end jobs, Joe saw a billboard advertising "Join the Army and make $149 a month!" He knew that he was not going anywhere here with the life he was living, so he enlisted and trained at Ft. Jackson, SC. He was sent to signal corps and excelled at his studies to work with communication equipment. He served 3 years and found the most important influence in his life: Jesus Christ as his Lord & Savior, while working at Homestead Air Force Base in Miami. After being hit by a driver who pulled into traffic without looking well, Joe was propelled 60 feet from his motorcycle and landed in a grassy median. He was hospitalized with amnesia which lasted 5 hours, and a broken right leg. During hospitalization he was given some cassette tapes from Kenneth Copeland. He listened to these continuously learning about how healing is still for today and how to pray for it. As a new believer, when he was discharged from the hospital he attended a spirit-filled church service and felt the power of God and hands were laid on him to heal his leg. He sawed off his cast that night at the barracks and threw it away. When he went for a follow-up visit, the doctor was shocked to see him walking on his "broken" leg and cast free! The doc agreed that it was INDEED a miracle of God that his injury was divinely healed.

Finally, Joe got the right interview in Huntsville to return to the beloved area he always called home. He worked as a technician at Test Area #2 at Redstone. Using his GI Bill, he worked fulltime and began UAH in pursuit of his B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Graduating in 1987, he began a different job in the Dept. of Defense utilizing his degree. He had a very successful career in the DoD and held mid-management positions and had experience with working with large government contractors on the Precision Fires Missile Systems and later on the Patriot Missile System employed at Wyle-KBR. Joe worked at KBR for 7 plus years and handled configuration management work, ECPs, and whatever he was asked to do.

After his second retirement in 2019, Joe enjoyed free time with his retired teacher wife, Kathy, and enjoyed the 3 grandchildren she had, as well as her grown offspring, Amy and Ben.

Joe was a dedicated servant of God, and even with his physical limitations, he witnessed to strangers, prayed for them, and had the gift of giving. He was a tither, a bible scholar who spent at least one hour a day in the reading, prayer, and study of the Holy Bible. His work background instilled a thirst for research, confirmation, and double-checking all situations in life and in spiritual matters.

Joe was a fervent believer in the power of prayer and encouraged his wife to join in the practice as a couple. He was truly the spiritual leader of his family and he taught his wife how to seek and find the answers she needed in the Word. The week that Joe went into hospice care, when asked his religious affiliation, he replied that he was an ambassador for Jesus Christ and was a spirit-filled Christian and member of New Salem Baptist in Big Cove, AL.

He lived a married life with Kathy for eleven years, one month, and two weeks. Throughout his 6 year battle with chronic myeloid leukemia, he looked for opportunities to minister to others he met at CCI and at the doctor's offices. He was quick to apologize and make amends when he was wrong, and truly sought to Walk in Love and remember that love covers a multitude of sins.

To all who knew him well, Joe was a BIKER, enjoying fast sport bikes and of the cruiser he and Kathy enjoyed for countless hours riding down 2 lane scenic highways and completing several adventurous epic trips with various motorcycle groups. He rode as long as he had the strength and it broke his heart and Kathy's when he could no longer ride and commune with God on the bikes.

He died at home, per his wishes, and his heart's last beat and his last breath occurred with only his love, Kathy, and a gospel CD playing. He was a godly man, a good friend, generous, a wonderful husband, and fierce believer that God's plan would take care of his illness.

He is survived by local family; his wonderful godly mother, Pauline; beloved wife, Kathy; best friend, Rex Teague; Amy Osborne, husband Justin, and the 3 grands, William, Anna, and John. Out of state, Kathy's son, Ben Parvin, his wife, Jenae, of Los Angeles, CA were important to Joe as well. His dogs, Dusty and Rambo, miss Daddy already. He wanted to be remembered as a child of the highest King God, Jesus, and a Holy Spirit filled godly man. He fought the good fight, he finished the race, and he stepped into GLORY 11/16/2021.

Charities he supported were the New Hope CARE Center, The Downtown Rescue Mission, and New Salem Baptist Church, all locally. The family kindly suggests donating to these local ministries in his memory or any other charities of your choice.

One of Joe's special verses: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Ps. 91:1-2 (NIV)

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