Obituary for Joseph Pennywitt Zirkle
January 16, 2016
KINGSTON, TN – Joseph Pennywitt (Joe) Zirkle, 98, of Kingston, went to be with the Lord on January 16, 2016. He died peacefully in his sleep at home. He was preceded in death by his wife of over 70 years, Jessie Craw Zirkle. Joseph was born in Kingston to George Paul and Clara Bettis Zirkle on July 17, 1917. Brothers George, John and Charles and sisters Edna Cardwell (Alvin), Mary Gelder (Robert), and Pauline Quinby (Hugh) have all preceded Joseph in death. Joseph was a student at Tusculum College when he met Jessie Craw as she arrived on campus as a freshman. Their courtship began after a defining moment when he “knew that Jessie was the one for him.” After Joseph’s graduation from college, he accepted a position with Aetna Insurance and was sent to New Orleans, Louisiana. Jessie and Joseph were married on May 25, 1939, spending their first years of marriage in New Orleans. Joseph entered the Navy on December 7, 1942. He was sent to Columbia University for Officers Training, achieving rank of Ensign at graduation. His next assignment was to Newport, Rhode Island, for the commissioning of a new ship, USS Charles Carroll. His 6-month command in Newport allowed Joseph and Jessie to be together for that assignment. Joseph served in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. After his discharge from the Navy in November, 1945, Joseph came back to Kingston and began farming. He maintained his attachment to the land all of his life. He additionally pursued real estate, insurance, and land development in Kingston. Joseph was a member of Bethel Presbyterian Church for decades, serving as elder and Sunday School teacher of the men’s class. He was a man of faith and integrity, and influenced many by his work ethic and love of family. His booming voice and hearty laugh will be remembered by friends, family and associates.
Joseph is survived by three daughters: Kathleen Zirkle Ellis (husband, Bob) of Kingston, Linda Zirkle King (husband, Don) of Knoxville, and Judy Zirkle King Politzer (husband, Michael) of Franklin; grandchildren, Jenny King Neeley (husband, Blake, and daughters, Elizabeth and Anna Katherine) of Nashville; Brian Eric Ownby (wife, Diane, and sister, Geneva) of Dandridge; Rachel Whitney King Reidinger (husband, Josh, and daughters, Ellen and Camille) of Birmingham, Jack Donald King, III (wife, Emily, and children, Madeleine and Colin Joseph) of Knoxville; Patrick Andrew King (wife, Caroline, and children, Auguste and Iris) of Knoxville; Heather Noel Ownby of Knoxville; Jordan David King (wife, Allie, and children, Isabelle and Ivey Grace) of Knoxville, and Cameron Elizabeth King of Knoxville.Several extraordinary caregivers enriched Joseph’s life with compassion and loyal service, making it possible for him to remain in his home, which was his wish. The family is indebted to caregivers Anna Bellamy, Myra Bowling, Yvonne Gallaher, Agnes Jackson and Patty Rush; and to Amedisys Hospice team which provided exceptional support and service during the last few months of his life.
Arrangements are as Follows: A memorial service in celebration of Joseph’s life will be held at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Kingston on Tuesday, January 19, at 2:00 p.m., officiated by his grandsons, Jack and Patrick King. A graveside ceremony will be held afterward at Oak Grove Cemetery in Rockwood. Evans Mortuary in Rockwood is in charge of arrangements. Instead of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Bethel Presbyterian Church, 203 S. Kentucky Street, Kingston, TN 37763; or to Amedisys Hospice, 665 New Hwy 68, Sweetwater, TN 37874.